what is the meaning of "blood drains from stomach"? Elisa is shocked, so I suppose it's the same like "stomach churns​/​lurches​/​tightens", but is it really so?

And then ... next thing I was in a police station, answering questions. I told them how to contact Papa and he came to fetch me.’
Blood drains from Elissa’s stomach. ‘You were in a police station?’
‘What did you say?’
‘Well . . . I told them about the crow Papa fixed.’
Her mouth falls open. ‘Did you tell them about me, Elijah?

Sam Lloyd "Memory Wood"

  • 4
    You seem to be correct. It's a really weird way to go about saying that, though.
    – myacorn
    Dec 8 '21 at 10:58
  • 3
    It’s a mash up of two more usual ways to express alarm: “blood draining from someone’s face” and “someone’s stomach twists/lurches”.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 8 '21 at 12:22
  • I suppose biologically there's some truth to the usage (doubtless one side effect of alarm-induced adrenaline flooding the body would be to divert resources / blood supply from "non-urgent" processes like digestion, in preparation for fight or flight). But @ColleenV is right - it's a "mash-up". Some people might like it (as "arresting, fresh" imagery), but some might think it's a bit silly (or even "incompetent", if we didn't know it came from a competent native speaker). Dec 8 '21 at 13:16
  • @FumbleFingers I chalk turns of phrase like that up to inexperienced writers or writers churning out a lot of books where the story is more important to them than the language.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 8 '21 at 13:26
  • 1
    As a matter of fact, I don't remember if it was me or one of my family who first came out with that particular "facetious malapropism" - but it was in the context of an amusing dining experience some decades ago. Nibbles and snacks were put on our pub garden table, and there was just one single whelk sitting in a bowl of much smaller (shelled) winkles. Nobody fancied the whelk, so it just sat there alone when its younger brethren had all been chomped up. The only volunteer to finish it off was my by-then-already-toothless father, who valiantly "gummed" it for some time before giving up! :) Dec 8 '21 at 14:56

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