"be sick" is said to mean "to vomit." I'd like to know if the following is okay:

John was sick four times last night.

And could "be intimate" be used in the same way?

The couple was/were intimate three times last night.

1 Answer 1


'Being sick' meaning 'vomiting' is a mainly British usage. American speakers might find it a bit strange. However a British English speaker would find nothing wrong with 'he was sick four times in the night'.

To say that a couple were countably 'intimate' when you mean they had sex multiple times sounds a bit strange, old-fashioned, and prim. In my youth newspaper reports of divorce cases might say 'the husband and the other woman went to a hotel and were intimate'.

  • "Since they married two years ago, the couple have been intimate only four times. And that constitutes grounds for divorce." How does it sound?
    – Apollyon
    Aug 1, 2021 at 7:48
  • It would be understandable, but very old fashioned, and the situation described would probably not be grounds for divorce in the UK. 'Being intimate' here is a euphemism. Aug 1, 2021 at 7:51
  • 1
    Just to check you realise @Apollyon, in Michael's hotel divorce example, "the couple" isn't the married couple. It's one of them with somebody else (hence the divorce!). Aug 1, 2021 at 14:27

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