Qualm (As a Matter of Fact)

Did You Know?

Etymologists aren’t sure where qualm originated, but they do know it entered English around 1530. Originally, it referred to a sudden sick feeling. Robert Louis Stevenson made use of this older sense in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most deadly shuddering. Soon after qualm entered the language, it came to designate not only sudden attacks of illness, but also sudden attacks of emotion or principle. In The Sketch Book, for example, Washington Irving wrote, Immediately after one of these fits of extravagance, he will be taken with violent qualms of economy…. Eventually, qualm took on the specific (and now most common) meaning of doubt or uneasiness, particularly in not following one’s conscience or better judgment.

Merrian Webster Dictionary

 


This little red squirrel has no qualms climbing up to the bird-feeder and helping himself to the sunflower seeds. In fact, he has no qualms about storing his cone stash in my garage nor bothers to sweep up his mess.

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