The first recording of the idiom in print is said to be by Ik Marvel, a pseudonym that resulted from a misprinting of J.K. Marvel, was the pen name of American author Donald Grant Mitchell. In his ‘Reveries of a Bachelor’ (1850) Ik Marvel is the first to record ‘under the weather,’ which has been a synonym for everything from ‘ill and indisposed’ to ‘financially embarrassed’ and ‘drunk,’ and has even been a synonym for ‘the discomfort accompanying menstruation. (Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
Another claim for its first time in print is in the Austin, Texas paper of 1827 meaning being ill or indisposed. It is understood that it had reference to opposition to the Mexican government as an unsuccessful small group of Texans attempted to oppose the Mexican government:
“The fredonians is all here rather under the wether.”
Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)