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What is the difference between phrases "sick and tied" and "sick and tired"? Is the first phrase correct?

Possibilities (summary from comments):

  • The standard phrase is definitely “sick and tired” and the other version could be a typo
  • maybe some instances of "sick and tied" are parody of "sick and tired"
  • "sick and tied" could be a mishearing related to a non-rhotic accent
  • searching confirms that “sick and tied” occurs in the wild much more often than most typos do, and as a serious alternative, not a deliberate play on words. Looking at the usage makes it clear that some people really do know the idiom as “sick and tied”. Seems like a classic eggcorn, worth discussing as such
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I have never heard the first phrase so I'm inclined to think it's a typo (maybe written by someone who didn't hear the speaker pronounce the "r" when the said the second phrase). Could you use it in a sentence, please? –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 8 '11 at 15:04
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@FumbleFingers et al: The standard phrase is definitely “sick and tired”, but googling confirms that “sick and tied” occurs in the wild much more often than most typos do, and as a serious alternative, not a deliberate play on words. Looking at the usage makes it clear that some people really do know the idiom as “sick and tied”. This seems to me like a classic eggcorn, and worth discussing as such. Voting to reopen. –  PLL Nov 8 '11 at 15:21
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@PPL: In google books I find a total of 28 instances of sick and tied, of which 22 are obviously not related to this context. I think the remaining 6 are all either typos or ignorant/non-native writers. –  FumbleFingers Nov 8 '11 at 16:25
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Google gives 480 vs. 900, but all I checked of the 480 seemed to mean the same as sick and tired. It does seem to be a large ratio of typos, though. Makes me wonder if it's a meme of sorts, even if I can't find anyone talking about it as a phrase. –  Daniel Nov 8 '11 at 18:43
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@PLL: It is a typo not caught by spellcheckers. Roughly the first page of hits I saw via Google all corrected the type the next time the phrase was typed. In other news, if say "tied" and "tired" with the right accent they also sound like each other. –  MrHen Nov 23 '11 at 4:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The phrase sick and tied appears to be either a typo (Theory 1) or a portmanteau of sick and tired and fit to be tied (Theory 2).

For theory 1, @MrHen points out that "Roughly the first page of hits I saw via Google all corrected the typo the next time the phrase was typed."

Looking at the Google results for the search: "sick and tied" phrase yields the following example to support theory 2:

We are sick and tied of seeing phone books printed, packaged and shipped - only to be put on our curb then in the landfill.

Something that you are sick and tired of could indeed leave you angry and agitated (fit to be tied), so it is possible that the two phrases became linked in some minds, leading to the sick and tied phrase.

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I don't see how the phone book example supports theory 2; it supports theory 1 just as well, perhaps better. –  mgkrebbs Dec 19 '11 at 0:26

Sick and tired is the idiom.

Sick and tied, on the other hand, appears to be an Eggcorn, though it's not yet in the Eggcorn Database. Hurry and submit it, and you'll get credit for the discovery.

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I think "Sick and tired" is the correct one. In the first one it seems as though whoever wrote it must have misheard the r.

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Searching will find you a virtually infinite number of instances of "definately" too, but that doesn't mean it's not wrong. If it's not a typo, then it's a case of "all intensive purposes" where some people have just learned it wrong and continue to embarrass themselves.

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