Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See migraine.
  • n. A caprice or fancy. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Depression or unhappiness: "If these megrims are the effect of Love, thank Heaven, I never knew what it was” ( Samuel Richardson).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of European deep water flatfish, Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis; the whiff or sail-fluke.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of sick or nervous headache, usually periodical and confined to one side of the head; now more commonly called migraine headache or migraine.
  • n. A fancy; a whim; a freak; a humor; esp., in the plural, lowness of spirits.
  • n. A sudden vertigo in a horse, succeeded sometimes by unconsciousness, produced by an excess of blood in the brain; a mild form of apoplexy.
  • n. The British smooth sole, or scaldfish (Psetta arnoglossa).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A form of headache usually confined to or beginning or predominating on one side of the head.
  • n. plural Lowness of spirits, as from headache or general physical disturbance; the “blues”; a morbid or whimsical state of feeling.
  • n. plural In farriery, a sudden attack of sickness in a horse at work, when he reels, and either stands still for a minute dull and stupid, or falls to the ground insensible. These attacks are often periodical, but are most frequent in warm weather.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a severe recurring vascular headache; occurs more frequently in women than men

Etymologies

Middle English migrem, variant of migraine; see migraine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French migraigne, from Vulgar Latin pronunciation of Late Latin hemicrania ("pain in one half of the head"), from Ancient Greek ἡμικρᾱνίᾰ (hemikrania), from ἡμι- (hēmi-, "hemi-, half") + κρανίον (kranion, "skull") (from whence also cranium). Compare migraine, hemicrania. (Wiktionary)
Origin unknown. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the last 25 years, cold water species like cod have moved much further north and to deeper, cooler, waters, an average of 3.6 metres further down, with megrim and monkfish going even deeper.

    The cold sea ushers in that bracing Norfolk wind

  • The anguish produced by this self-reproof was so strong that I put my hand suddenly to my forehead, and was obliged to allege a sudden megrim to my attendant, in apology for the action, and a slight groan with which it was accompanied.

    Chronicles of the Canongate

  • We brought them in, not quite so fast, as though some lurking megrim, some microbe of dissatisfaction with ourselves was at work within us.

    The Inn of Tranquillity: Studies and Essays

  • Although pale and heavy-eyed as befitted someone suffering from a drink megrim, she bore no other outward signs of discomfort.

    The Falcons of Montabard

  • Her aunts had urged her to attend the meeting, but Harriet had declined, claiming a megrim.

    Chasing a Rogue

  • Although, except for a cloying scent that was fast bringing on a megrim, the little parlor of

    Gabriel's Lady

  • Only one thing would ct him of his megrim, and she had no intention supplying it.

    The Outrageous Dowager

  • But it must be either a dry dropsie, or a megrim or letarge, or a fistule

    The Arte of English Poesie

  • Young Cliff, who, of the entire set-up, would most interest you, will, I hope, grow out of his megrim and return to his music.

    Died in the Wool

  • Our youths, who spend their days in trying to build up their constitutions by sport or athletics and their evenings in undermining them with poisonous and dyed drinks; our daughters, who are ever searching for some new quack remedy for new imaginary megrim, what strength is there in them?

    The Works of Max Beerbohm

Comments

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  • Megrim, also megrim sole, is a flatfish found in Cornish (UK) waters.

    December 29, 2013

  • "I remembered Phaedre... wringing out cloths in cold tea, observing that her mistress was suffering from headache 'again,' ... and Duncan asking me to make up a lavender pillow, to ease his wife's 'megrims.'"
    —Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (NY: Bantam Dell, 2001), 1234

    January 29, 2010

  • According to Dictionary.com, it also means "a fancy; a whim" and "in the plural: lowness of spirits -- often with 'the'."

    June 23, 2009

  • "Kate had learned a long time ago that the best way to deal with Effie's megrims was to maintain an attitude of determined cheerfulness."
    - Susan Carroll, 'Midnight Bride'.

    March 5, 2009

  • Great allowance was to be made, he realized, for her humiliation over the flowers in her bonnet. That might justify her, fairly enough, in being kept away from meeting now and again by headaches, or undefined megrims.

    - Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware, ch. 11

    August 1, 2008

  • I was curious about this one because it seems so close to migraine. Turns out that migraine was apparently a misreading of migrame, Middle English for a type of headache. Who'd have thought?

    Also, a megrim is a species of left-eyed flatfish found in European seas between 100 and 700 meters below sea level. I wonder if they get headaches.

    March 27, 2008

  • "'They were tumbled about, to be sure; yet most ... withstood the tumbling and the uneasy motion of the ship very well. I have often noticed that a prolonged and violent blow storm tends to dispel the megrims...'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, Blue at the Mizzen, 157

    March 27, 2008

  • 'Lydgate was abrupt but not irritable, taking little notice of megrims in healthy people'

    - George Eliot, Middlemarch

    February 21, 2008

  • from Middlemarch

    October 1, 2007