Cabin Fever – Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The term cabin fever has surely crossed your path at some point in life. But do you know what it truly entails? Well, it’s not a newfound epidemic sweeping across woodland cabins worldwide. Though, I guess you could argue it is, in a metaphorical sense. So, put on your coziest slippers, grab a hot cocoa, and let’s get into the nitty-gritty of cabin fever.

Is It Cabin Fever or Cabin-Fever?

Cabin Fever Origin Meaning

Let’s clear the air. It’s cabin fever, no hyphen. Though if you’re feeling particularly rebellious and want to shake things up, by all means, throw in the hyphen. Just don’t blame me when the grammar gurus come knocking!

Cabin Fever Meaning Explained

Ever spent too much time indoors and felt an unshakeable restlessness? A creeping sense of irritation or unease? Well, you might’ve been experiencing cabin fever.

The phrase is used to describe the claustrophobic reaction and restless feeling one gets from being cooped up indoors for an extended period. We definitely all felt it during the pandemic!

Cabin Fever Origin and Etymology

Cabin Fever Ngram
Cabin fever usage trend.

Although it sounds like a phrase that was coined during the recent global pandemic, it actually predates that. The term cabin fever originated in the early 19th century in the United States, a time when pioneers spent long, isolated winters in their log cabins—usually resulting in intense restlessness and agitation. Trust me, being stuck with the same faces day in and day out would get to anyone.

Synonyms for Cabin Fever

Looking to add a dash of diversity to your lexicon? Here are some alternatives you can use for cabin fever.

  • Stir-crazy
  • Climbing the walls
  • Going stir crazy
  • Getting antsy
  • Feeling cooped up

Cabin Fever Examples in a Sentence

Cabin Fever Origin Meaning 1
  • After months of quarantine, I have serious effects of cabin fever.
  • Too many months of winter often lead to cabin fever, so it’s crucial to find indoor hobbies.
  • “You’re just antsy because you’ve got cabin fever,” my friend suggested.
  • My cabin fever was at an all-time high after the snowstorm trapped us indoors.
  • I never thought I’d get cabin fever, but after three days of rain and staying inside, I was climbing the walls.
  • My brother often gets cabin fever, so he ensures he takes regular walks outside.
  • “We’ve been stuck in this house for a week! No wonder we all have cabin fever,” my mother exclaimed.
  • She tends to get symptoms of cabin fever if she doesn’t get her daily dose of the great outdoors.
  • “This isn’t like you. It must be cabin fever,” my husband reasoned after my third emotional outburst of the day.

Curing Your Cabin Fever

And that’s cabin fever explained. Remember, the best remedy for this is a hearty dose of outdoor activities or, at the very least, some indoor variety. But hey, next time you find yourself muttering, “I have cabin fever,” at least you’ll know the history behind your restlessness.