What is a word for having been very sick, as with the flu or pneumonia? For example, it should fit into the sentence

A few days after the event, I became ___ and couldn't get out of bed for a few days.

The word needs more intensity than "ill", "unwell", "poorly", "ailing", or "indisposed". It should also not require the word "very". Is there such a word?

  • 4
    Critically ill usually implies being so ill you're in danger of dying. If you just mean you're so ill you can't go to work, perhaps laid low or incapacitated. Jan 25, 2015 at 18:20
  • You used the [single-word-requests] tag. Please check the tag info and especially the four check points at the end of that. These requests need especial care.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 25, 2015 at 19:38
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    One could, of course, shorten "critically ill" to "critical", so long as the context was sufficient to identify that as a medical condition (vs, say, an impending nuclear incident).
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 25, 2015 at 20:13
  • @AndrewLeach: Thanks, I didn't know such criteria existed. I edited the question in an attempt to comply.
    – Jim L.
    Jan 25, 2015 at 21:22
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    You might be able to accomplish your goal by using any of the words you suggest, along with the adverb so: "A few days after the event, I became so ill I couldn't get out of bed for a few days." (I realize that's not a word, but at least it gives words like ill and unwell the strength you desire.)
    – J.R.
    Jan 25, 2015 at 23:00

3 Answers 3


Debilitated is a possibility:

The siege of pneumonia debilitated her completely.

For your sentence, bedridden, seems to apply:

A few days after the event, I became bedridden and couldn't get out of bed for a few days.

There's also enfeebled:

Further, as we saw that most of those who went inland to explore fell sick on their return, or even had to turn back on the way, this was a reason to fear that the same might befall those healthy men who might make such an expedition now. And two perils might threaten them there in consquence. First, if they were to fall sick out there in the course of the work, where there is no house nor refuge of any sort from the chief they call Caonabo (who by all accounts is a very bad man and - even more - a very bold one), he seeing us there enfeebled and ill, would be able to undertake that which he would not dare if we were in normal health.

~ Christopher Columbus, Columbus on Himself


What about stricken...like being stricken by a real fever and a sore throat and the chills and. . . you get the idea. Put out of action (by illness).

TFD puts it as- adj.

Affected by something overwhelming, such as disease, trouble, or painful emotion

  • Incapacitated; disabled.

If you need a single word, I think the colloquial dogsick may fit your context: (TFD)

  • 1
    Interesting, I've never heard that word. It is confusing at first because the parallel with familiar compounds like homesick, seasick, lovesick would suggest the meaning "sick because of a dog" rather than "sick as a dog". Jan 26, 2015 at 2:06

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