Fri 22 Aug, 2014 12:15 pm
Much of my English was learned with an American girlfriend I had as a teen. Her mother had this phrase about illnesses: "feed a cold and starve a fever", and I have always taken it as a form of American wisdom.
Now, my wife's English conversation teacher told her it is "feed a fever", which is to make it deeper, so that many of the toxines leave the body.
Which is the correct American saying? Or is it that they have one saying in New Yoek (my formwr girlfriend's mom) and another in California (the teacher).
This is question about the usage of English, not about medicine & heañth.
In Britain (where English comes from) people say "feed a cold, starve a fever" (since at least 1500).
Referring to the title, the saying is not merely an "American" saying, it is an English saying, that is, it is found all over the English speaking world, in which there are nearly as many English speakers outside the United States as in them.
Now that you have your answer, I'll try to relate a comic strip from years ago.
The kid's hungry and the parents are arguing whether it's "starve a fever; feed a cold", or "starve a cold; feed a fever". By questioning the parents, kid determines that he does have a fever and does have a cold. Now, he points to his mouth and says "I'm hungry! Feed me".
Thank you, guys, for your fast and precise answers.
(And Contrex, I bow: it's old English wisdom, not American wisdom)
It's always nice to be on the winning side of a discussion with your spouse (and her teacher).
Feed a cold and also the mother.
Adds, I'm a californian, and so there.