frog in my throat

January 31, 2008



To have a frog in one’s throat is to have a temporary hoarseness caused by phlegm in the back of the throat.

Of all the animal idioms out there, the origin of this one seems pretty obvious. Anyone hoarse with a cold or allergies will typically sound or croak, pretty much like a frog, right? So, duh, that’s a no-brainer. However, with a little digging around I found there is a wee bit more to the story.

According to The Phrase Finder

It used to be thought that if you drank water from a pond that had frogspawn in it, a frog could live and hatch out in your throat, which naturally would block your voice. Quacksalvers (that’s the traditional English equivalent of snake oil merchants) used to have a scam whereby the quack’s stooge used to pretend to be so afflicted; the quack would administer his medicine, lo and behold the stooge would cough up a live frog and “regain his voice”, and all the gullible peasants would buy this wonderful cure. For this reason, an obstruction in the throat is known as a “frog”.

Interesting story, if not exactly full of detailed information, like: What period in time did all this take place?

So with a little more digging I found this:

quack·sal·ver [ kwák sàlvər ] (plural quack·sal·vers) noun
Definition: quack: somebody who falsely claims to have medical or other skills or qualifications ( archaic )

[Late 16th century. < obsolete Dutch, “salve-hawker” < Dutch kwaken “quack, prattle” + zalf “salve”]

So, there you go.

A term likely originated by quacks in an effort to sell snake oil in the late 16th century.

Sound familiar?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a nice hot spot o’ tea. I seem to have an amphibian lodged in my esophagus.


15 Responses to “frog in my throat”

  1. tombarrett Says:

    OK, over the next few days we will expect to see “cat got your tongue” and “monkey on your back”! 🙂

  2. sketched out Says:

    Tom, Hee hee, I know, I know, once I get started with these things I can’t seem to stop. Check out “Animal Idioms” in my catagories list for proof.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. kim Says:

    Your keen sense of humor is always “on spot”. This just one of the reasons why I have awarded you the “You make my day” award! Come visit and pick it up! 🙂

  4. froggie Says:

    awwwww…i’m sitting right in your throat. awwww. (that’s so gross!) whaddya have for dinner anyway? i’ll bet i can find out in here…)

    this is a terrif froggie! and this is gonna sound so art schooly but…i love the way each shape is a reminder of the other…his nose, the tongue pillow…the shape of the back of the throat…the lil flame…it all locks it in. (me=artgeek.) soup and tea sketchie…and no chewbacca impersonations today. that’s a good girl! “)

  5. sketched out Says:

    Thank you, thank you so much Kim! That is so sweet of you! I left a comment on your blog, further expounding my glee!!

    Froggie, thanks for the art schooly feedback. It’s always nice to know things are working on that kind of level. Wewt! And, hee hee, you are just too funny. I was gonna try to do a Chewie yell, but can’t figure out how to write it, hee hee.

  6. artseafartsea Says:

    Hey, how do you come up with these? Great idea and sketch. Funny stuff.

  7. valgalart Says:

    haha, yer hilarious!!! loved this! ;p

  8. heheheh funny post … and nice sketch… i seem to have a toad in my throat now

    gud eve

  9. bobo's slave Says:

    How you get all those fresh idea? OTZ++

  10. sketched out Says:

    Hey, Mom, Val and Bobo, thanks!

    As far as getting these ideas, I’ve always been plagued with a head full of old sayings and puns. When all else fails and originality eludes, there’s always that corny pool to pull from. Weeeeeee!

  11. It’s official. My favourite new word is “frogspawn”.

    Love his sticky wee fingers holding the match, and you do the greatest expressions…

  12. sketched out Says:

    Bambi, thanks so much…

    …and I know, isn’t frogspawn a gorgeous word?! Let’s see how many times we can work it into in a sentence today.

  13. gina Says:

    and we do have ‘kambing hitam’- ‘black goat’, it have the same meaning as ‘scapegoat’ 😀 haha!

  14. Emily Says:

    oh my what an expression on that froggy face! love the back story!
    btw thanks for visiting.

  15. studio lolo Says:

    How clever that the back of the throat looks like a lily pad (kinda!) and the uvula makes for the best negative space. (I just really wanted to say uvula!!) This is a very clever composition and a way cute amphibian! Oh…and a great history lesson to boot!

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