If a kid went to school he\she cries because he\she is going away from his\her parents not because he\she is going away from his\her home.

So why is it called "homesick" instead of "parents sick" ?

  • 4
    If you said you were "parent sick" (not parents sick, just as we don't say homes-sick) that would probably be understood as meaning you were sick of your parent(s), and wanted to get away from them. Sep 30, 2015 at 12:37
  • 2
    What about your brothers and sisters?
    – Mitch
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:39
  • 4
    I have a friend whose parents died a long time ago. He was recently on an extended trip abroad (to Singapore, he lives in Texas). He told me he's homesick. Would you like to tell him he's using the word incorrectly?
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 30, 2015 at 13:08
  • 4
    Please check a few more dictionaries - your understanding of the meaning of 'homesick' is very incomplete. Sep 30, 2015 at 13:24

2 Answers 2


We don't use "homesick" for a child crying on the first day of school. When people are homesick, it actually is from missing their home. Usually the familiarity of it, the ability to be oneself there, the feeling of safety (either physical, mental, or emotional), or the culture of the area (especially if one is in another country).

If we simply used homesick to describe missing your parents then orphans, the elderly, and those not living with their parents could never be homesick, and obviously they can be.

  • 1
    Also saying parents sick sounds like the parents are physically ill. A "home" cannot be ill/sick.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:36
  • Haha, right? "Why are you crying, little boy?" "Parents sick."
    – Julia
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:37
  • @Mari-Lou A home sick also sounds like home is physically ill.
    – Rajesh Nielmbaram
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:37
  • 1
    @Rajesh Homesick is a single word though, unique by definition on its own.
    – Julia
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:38
  • 1
    I don't know about you guys, but I've seen some pretty sick homes in my time. With like, indoor pools and gazebos and whatnot.
    – Parthian Shot
    Sep 30, 2015 at 16:57

The historical reason is given here:

homesickness (n.) 1756, translating German Heimweh, from Heim "home" (see home (n.)) + Weh "woe, pain;" the compound is from Swiss dialect, expressing a longing for the mountains, and was introduced to other European languages 17c. by Swiss mercenaries.

Online Etymology Dictionary


It is that way because it expresses a longing for one's home, not one's parents.

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