collywobbles n Also sp collywabbles [Prob folk-etym for cholera morbus, perh infl by colic and wobble] Cf strong>galleywobbles, gonnywobbles
1 Depression or nervousness; some imaginary or undefined illness; malaise.1834 Life Andrew Jackson 91, There was a general depression of spirits; the people seem’d to have taken the collywabbles, and every one was afear’d to speak his mind to his neighbor. 1942 Sat. Eve. Post 10 Oct 103/2 Sth, It’s a wonder Larry don’t get the collywobbles, playin’ around Mud Lake after varmints. 1950 WELS (Imaginary diseases) 4 Infs, WI, Collywobbles. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. BB28, . . Imaginary diseases) 33 Infs, esp Nth and West, Collywobbles; (Qu. BB34a, To feel depressed or in a gloomy mood: “He has the _____today.”) Infs CA36, 115, CT13, Collywobbles; (Qu. GG13b, When something keeps bothering a person and makes him nervous . . “It gives me the _____.”) Infs HI1, NJ16, Collywobbles; (Qu. BB5, A general feeling of discomfort or illness) Inf CT27, Collywobbles; (Qu. BB39, When you don’t feel just right, though not actually sick) Inf CA59, Have the collywobbles.
2 An upset stomach, stomachache, or diarrhea.1942 in 1944 ADD MA, [The effects of smoking] may be a dizzy feeling, a sensation of nausea, or just a plain case of the ‘colly-wobbles.’ 1950 WELS Suppl. ceWI, Colly-wobbles—a term for “tummy aches” peculiar to the eating of green apples; seWI, Collywobbles is a feeling, upset stomach, etc. 1967–70 DARE (Qu. BB19, Joking name for looseness of the bowels) Inf CA15, Collywobbles; OH93, When a person has the runs he has collywobbles. 1967 DARE FW Addit nIL, Collywobbles: upset stomach (e.g., from eating green apples); neTN, Collywobbles [ˈkɑlɪˌwɑbḷz]—a stomachache (joking).
3 By ext: menstruation.1969 DARE (Qu. AA27, . . Other names . . for . . menstruation) Inf CT27, Collywobbles.
4 See quot. Cf DS E201950 WELS Suppl. ceWI, Collywobbles—small rolls of dust on the floor.