Should it not be "feed a cold TO starve a fever"?

20 December 2009

Question

Regarding the saying "feed a cold, starve a fever", as I understand, that saying has been dangerously abbreviated over time. The verbose version of the saying, that reflects the original meaning, might go something like "feed a [person suffering with a] cold in order to mitigate the fever".

Answer

So thank you so much for that, Douglas. That's not something we'd heard of. It sounds highly plausible that it should be feed a cold TO starve a fever because, as we have pointed out previously, you need to eat properly to mount an effective immune response, without which you might well develop a more severe fever.

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