View Full Version : Origin of Southern phrase

05-24-2002, 04:02 PM
I had heard that the Southern phrase, "I've got the vapors!" is just a clever way for those charming southern ladies to pass gas and then have a great excuse to leave the room and get some fresh air.

I can't find a corroboration of this. Can anyone help me out?

05-24-2002, 05:12 PM
I think the expression was usually understood to mean the definition that my Merriam Webster gives it. Unfortunately, you have to go through all the more modern meanings before you get to:

a depressed or hysterical nervous condition

05-25-2002, 12:05 PM
It referred to feeling faint. Back in the days of tight, wasp-waisted corsets, women literally couldn't get enough air. Swooning under emotional stress was common in those days.

05-25-2002, 01:16 PM
That's actually a common misconception about corsets. A properly fitted, properly laced corset does not constrict breathing and is, in my experience, far more comfortable than most bras. Women swooned under emotional stress because they were expected to be delicate, frail creatures (at least the middle- and upper-class ones; the working class just got on with it).

As far as "the vapors" goes, I've heard two explanations: the flautulence one and that it was an excuse to leave the room to use the facilities, as Victorian women didn't announce, "'Scuse me, I've gotta pee." <g>

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
05-29-2002, 08:50 AM
OED lists "vapor" or "vapour" as meaning various acts of unusual behavior, none having to do with flatulence.

However, it's too much to type here, and it is silent on the exact etymology of "vapor" meaning "behavior" (or is it "'vapour' meaning 'behaviour.'"):D

Best Topics: mx stands for popeye arms vernon gosney bobcat kill oy yiddish bleach and windex ten hut mouse gallbladder comedy props boogie car pig penis pictures dr pepper cocktails godfather opening scene schick shadle ebay diet pills keurig sucks eating beard hair growing cocaine plant wet willie prank define wanker boys communal showers fedex change address hipster emo dog shredding suit pockets sewn dope gamertags gin chasers no spray sign madame violet edinburgh inbred cats mulch over grass vending machine rentals weathertech complaints schick shadle can you freeze urine attach wood fence to chain link post what is rave music reading glasses with different strengths for each eye songs with thursday in the title drinking whole bottle of nyquil white collar blue shirt aluminum free deodorant at walmart learning how to roller blade willingness to travel percentage funny male stripper names is nra membership tax deductible can sleeping with a fan on make you sick men naked in front of women difference between 100's and shorts nude native american indian women usps delivered someone else's package why do my muscles ache when i drink alcohol could you jump off the moon garmin connect calories wrong rotting potatoes harbor harmful toxins bumble bee in house why is a cup of coffee 6 oz what happens if i drink a whole bottle of nyquil can guinea pigs run in balls can you swap sim cards between phones can a helicopter do a barrel roll do tetanus shots make you sick why are british series so short sign the papers old man retro fitness undercover boss fake what to use to write on car windows