What Is The Meaning Of “Ad Nauseam?”

To answer the question quickly, “ad nauseam” is a phrase that originates from Latin. When translated literally, it means “to nausea.” In modern usage, it usually refers to something used so often that it makes you sick of it. When using it in your writing, you don’t need to italicize “ad nauseam.”

Due to its foreign origins, many people are confused about how they can use “ad nauseam” in their writing. With no further ado, let’s understand what this phrase means when used colloquially and how you can use it in your writing! 

What Does “Ad Nauseam” Mean? 

To define it again, when translated from its origin phrase, “ad nauseam” literally means “to nausea.” Some people argue that “ad nauseum” is the correct spelling. However, most scholars tend to disagree. 

If you change the phrase slightly, it can be translated to mean “at/to the point of nausea.” In other words, it can be used colloquially to describe when something makes you figuratively/metaphorically sick. 

What Phrases Can You Use Instead Of “Ad Nauseam?”

If you are still confused about how you can use “ad nauseam” in your writing, there are a few other (more simple) phrases that you can try out. Some of the most common English synonyms are “repeatedly” or “over and over.” Although those phrases don’t portray the metaphorical sickness of “ad nausea,” they are still fairly informative. 

Additionally, you could also say that something “makes you sick.” When that phrase is paired with others, such as “goes on and on,” it can describe when something happening repeatedly makes you metaphorically sick. 

Examples Of Using “Ad Nauseam”

  • I have already discussed ad nauseam with you why I don’t like you to walk alone at night. 
  • After the story was repeated ad nauseam on the local news, I had to turn the TV off. 
  • I’m sure all the recent events will be discussed ad nauseam in my political science class on Monday. 
  • Even though repetition is a strong rhetorical device, repeating information ad nauseam can cause it to lose its impact.

Examples From Inspiring English Sources

Perfection isn’t required. Bony knees aren’t airbrushed smooth. Models sometimes work the same baffling expression ad nauseam. – The New York Times.

I’d be tempted to blame Errol Morris—and would hesitate to yield to that temptation—if Morris didn’t himself take proud credit for inventing reënactments. The film in which he did so is, of course, “The Thin Blue Line,” from 1988. In a 2005 clip, Morris said, “At the time that I did these reënactments, it was unheard-of. It was considered to be a documentary no-no. It’s been imitated ad nauseam. You can’t turn on a television set without seeing an example of it.” – The New Yorker

With the very real possibility that we are heading towards another financial crisis, all we are discussing is whether Hillary Clinton had a body double after the her fainting episode. Or the latest outrage from Donald Trump, or his kids. It’s idiocy ad nauseam. – The Guardian

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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