run a temperature: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘run a temperature’ mean?

The idiom "run a temperature" means to have an elevated body temperature, usually as a result of illness or infection.

Idiom Explorer

The Hidden Heat

Having a temperature that runs high, or running a temperature, is a common occurrence when one is sick. When our bodies are faced with an infection or illness, our immune system kicks into gear and raises our body temperature as a way to fight off the intruders. This increase in body temperature is often referred to as a fever. Fevers can cause discomfort and make us feel unwell, but they are a sign that our body is working hard to protect us.

When we run a temperature, it can feel like our bodies are running hot and cold. One moment we might be sweating and feeling overheated, and the next moment we might be shivering and seeking warmth. This fluctuation in temperature can be uncomfortable, but it is a natural response to the infection or illness that our body is fighting.

The thermometer measured her feverish temperature accurately.

During a fever, our bodies can feel like they are boiling hot. We may experience chills, sweating, and an overall feeling of heat emanating from within. This sensation of being boiling hot is a result of our elevated body temperature and the increased metabolic activity happening within our bodies as our immune system works overtime to fight off the infection or illness.

On the other hand, there are times when our body temperature dropping can be a cause for concern. In certain situations, when we experience a sudden drop in body temperature and feel a chill spreading through our veins, it can be a sign that something is seriously wrong. In these instances, we might say that our blood runs cold. This idiom is often used to describe a feeling of fear, shock, or dread that overrides any physical sensations we might be experiencing. It signifies a deep psychological response to a distressing situation.

When we run a temperature, we should be aware that we are also running a risk. Fevers can sometimes signal a more severe underlying condition that requires medical attention. While most fevers are a temporary response to infection or illness, it is important to monitor our symptoms and seek medical advice if necessary. Ignoring a high body temperature can put our health at risk and hinder the body's ability to heal itself.

Overall, when we run a temperature, it is a sign that our body is fighting an infection or illness. We experience fluctuations in body temperature, ranging from feeling boiling hot to running cold. While a fever is usually temporary, it is essential to be mindful of any risks associated with a high body temperature. It is recommended to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen. Remember to stay hydrated, rest, and take care of your body when you are unwell.

Example usage

1. He looks pale and is sweating profusely, I think he might be running a temperature.

2. The doctor advised her to stay in bed and rest as she was running a high temperature.

3. I can't go to work today, I woke up this morning and was running a temperature.

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