"My stomach's doing hula hoops around my ass."Stress comes in many shapes and forms. You almost kill a patient on your first day as a doctor. You find out your parents were never in love. You discover the world you thought you knew was never real. Your intestines are falling out of your belly-wound. You actually kill someone on purpose, whether in panicked self-defense or in a brief bout of murderous rage. Or your opponent is just that terrifying. Conflict creates stress, and, on television at least, stress creates vomiting. Note that no nauseous event or spectacle need occur to precipitate a Stress Vomit, though a sufficiently gory and horrific sight will most certainly do it for some people. If any event or revelation causes high levels of anxiety in a particular person, that person will lose their lunch. Thus the trope can work two ways: it can reflect the vomiting character's lack of hard life experience (particularly in youthful or formerly sheltered characters), or in a grizzled veteran, it can indicate the scene is particularly ghastly. This is Truth in Television; some people do respond to anxiety with retching (dry heaves) or actual vomiting, and in some cases it happens repeatedly, in a condition known as Cyclic(al) Vomiting Syndrome (CVS). Super Trope to Vomiting Cop, since cops are human too (well, mostly or formerly). Contrast Nausea Dissonance.
— Stanley Goodspeed, The Rock
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Code Geass, Lelouch vomits after thinking of how he killed his half brother Clovis, and immediately goes to a bathroom.
- In episode 2 of Kotoura-san, this is the direct result of Hiyori's Poke in the Third Eye Mind Rape on Haruka, by emphasizing the trigger of a girl who endured a decade of emotional trauma.
- Fruits Basket:
- Yuki throws up after being stuck in a closet full of paint while he remembers bad things that happened in his childhood.
- Kyo throws up some Bishie Sparkle after a stressful conversation with his father.
- In the penultimate episode of the anime Tohru also vomits after seeing Kyo's released, monstrous form, in part because it smells like death.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon's gunmen, Lagann, starts vomiting Spiral Energy during stressful moments Simon goes through after Kamina's death.
- Kodomo no Kodomo has Miss Yagi, whose stress and anxiety is usually portrayed in her needing to vomit in the toilets during breaks.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episode 20 generates quite a lot of stress and subsequent trauma for Maya Ibuki, the sequence beginning at the start of the final third of the episode: first, Maya safely presumes that both she and her colleagues will either be eaten alive or disintegrated; then, hope she'd rejected resurges when Shinji returns in EVA 01 to save them from the beast; then, it dies when EVA 01's battery power empties; then, it returns when EVA 01 reactivates to protect it's pilot; finally, she witnesses EVA 01 overpower the beast and then devour it. She spews.
- Soul Eater has a comedic example in the anime. Maka's team loses a game of basketball, so as a forfeit she has to offer to spend the weekend with her Bumbling Dad. He's so happy at the prospect of unexpectedly spending time with his sort-of-estranged daughter he vomits.
- Near the end of the Bokurano manga, Jun Ushiro is faced with the extremely unpleasant task of killing everyone in his final opponent's universe one by one until he kills the final enemy pilot (whose death will result in his universe being destroyed and Jun's being saved). The poor guy vomits from the stress. But he does it anyway.
- Elfen Lied: Lucy tosses her cookies at the height of her emotional breakdown as a child: specifically when she finds out Kohta had lied to her about his cousin's gender.
- Karasawa of Daily Lives of High School Boys had one during High School Girls are Funky: Archdemon when he was reminded of Habara. Fanon takes it to be a permanent trait, seeing he might actually be phobic to her.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed spends all night in the rain digging up the thing that resulted from the human transmutation because he's not sure if it was actually his mother, and winds up vomiting- either from the rain or the stress- after he starts to uncover it.
- In Death Note, Light does this in an alleyway after the reality that he's just killed two people sets in. It's implied that he did it in the anime adaptation too, during a flashback. And he nearly does it in the live-action drama at Sakota's wake, but manages to hold it down.
- In Pokémon Adventures, X, who's noted to be extremely empathetic and sensitive, pukes his guts out in front of others when given the news that Korrina has some degree of mental damage upon having her Key Stone stolen.
- In Black Butler II Ciel has just had his eye patch stolen by Alois and is experiencing intense pain and stress as a result of flashback memories and is Hearing Voices. He wanders to a cellar and vomits.
- Early on Arachnid, Alice has spent about a month being trained to be an assassin and decides to practice on the girl that keeps bullying her. However, taking a life from a defenseless person turns out to not be so easy and she misses the execution by a hair before suddenly having a breakdown.
- Towards the end of Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai, when Nagisa Yamada finally manages to make her brother Tomohiko get out of their home, he throws up. It doesn't help that he's going out because Nagisa has told him that she's sure her best friend Mokuzu has been murdered. (She's right.)
- Berserk: When Guts sees a young girl he had been travelling with get killed, and her body subsequently possessed by a demon and beheading her father, he yaks a little.
- Justified in Concrete, whose protagonist's alien body has no other way to express grief.
- Mary Jane has done this at least twice in the Spider-Man comics:
- Once when Peter and Felicia told her their plan to find the kidnapped Aunt May involved freeing Norman Osborn from jail.
- Another happened during One More Day after Peter tells her about the Deal with the Devil Mephisto offered them. Of course, since said deal involved wiping away their marriage from existence and any future kids are presumably a part of that, a common fan theory has that MJ may have vomited for a different reason.
- A Crown of Stars: In chapter 52 Shinji vomits when he finally realizes he is just like his father: he would destroy anything and anyone that threatened or harmed the woman that he loves. The realization that he is right like someone he considers a monster is more than he can bear without becoming sick.
- Advice and Trust: Subverted. During a scene, several classmates were trying to flirt with Shinji. Their actions were getting Shinji upset, Asuka jealous and homicidal and Rei displeased. So Rei — who was already suffering from intense withdrawal symptoms due to quitting a regimen of mood-altering drugs cold turkey, and is pretending that it's because she's sick — refrained from holding down one particular strong bout of nausea as she stood up and moved to a prime position for "accidentally" vomiting on one of the offending girls, stopping their onslaught and giving the three of them an excuse to leave quickly.
- Child of the Storm: Harry does so in chapter 2 of the sequel, after being forced to Mind Rape a group of Death Eaters to protect his friends.
- Draknophobia: Petra, who is the Dragonborn, does this in relation to her combination of reactions whenever encountering Dragons due to her phobia.
- Mentioned in Miracle Child — apparently Karkat, at one point, rage-vomited on Nepeta when he thought Gamzee was dead.
- Magna Clades: Steven does this near the end while he feels guilty over accidentally killing Zoisite and Zirconia.
- Once More with Feeling: In chapter 3 Shinji faces his father, calls him out and demands combat pay in exchange for piloting a giant robot and risking his life. He succeeds, but he was so terrified during the confrontation that after leaving Gendo's office he hurried to the bathroom and spent thirty seconds throwing up.
- Scar Tissue: Before the beginning of the fic Asuka had became highly unstable, distressed and paranoid due to the events of the series. Severely traumatized and unable to control her temper she lashed out at Shinji, hitting him and then feeling sick with herself for beating him. After eight months she goes too far and hospitalizes him. Feeling guilt-ridden and full with self-loathing, she goes to visit him, and Shinji asks her leaving for a short while... instead of demanding it or shouting at her like she feels she deserves. Asuka could not stand it anymore and ran to the nearest bathroom to vomit.
- Thousand Shinji: In chapter 14, after waking up from a coma and hearing how everything had gone to Hell due to his scheming, Shinji threw up violently.
- In The Rock, Stanley Goodspeed throws up when he's recruited to be part of the rescue mission, and told the full risks of going in.
- Saving Private Ryan had some of the soldiers in the landing craft losing their cookies on their way to the D-Day landing. Though the sea travel likely didn't help, anxiety about invading France to retake it from the Nazis doubtless contributed to their nausea. This was parodied (along with the rest of the landing sequence) in Conker's Bad Fur Day.
- The Matrix. While in virtual reality Neo learns that his entire previous life has been an illusion and most of the human race is enslaved by the machines. He can't accept this, and after returning to the real world he throws up on the deck of the hovership.
- Justin Timberlake's Establishing Character Moment in Black Snake Moan is him vomiting into a toilet, showcasing his crippling anxiety.
- The Bourne Identity. Already in shock from the Mood Whiplash of events after Castel attacks them, Marie throws up as she's herded out of the apartment by Bourne and sees the headshot body of the concierge.
- Serenity. While on the planet Miranda, the crew learns a horrifying truth about the origin of the Reavers, causing River Tam to throw up.
- Played for Laughs in Pitch Perfect. Aubrey throws up over the entire audience during a group performance. Later on she does it again as part of a particular hilarious argument.
- In Killer Elite, Danny's team hires Jake, an inexperienced small-time criminal who promptly vomits after shooting both an enemy agent and fellow team member Meier in the head in a fit of panic.
- In Requiem for a Dream, we get this twice. The first time is after Marian sleeps with her therapist for money. The second time is while Tyrone is making prison food while the security guard mocks him (although in his case, he was addicted to heroin, so that might've had something to do with it.).
- In The Princess Diaries, this is used early on as evidence of Mia's social awkwardness. When she has to present her side of a debate in front of her class, she ends up bolting from the room to throw up. She brings this up during the rambling prelude to the speech she makes at the end of the movie, prompting the reporters present to nervously back away a little.
- In Any Given Sunday Willie Beamen's nervousness at being sent into his first gamenote causes him to throw up in the huddle. In later games, he's seen throwing up on the sidelines before taking his first snap.
- In Rush (2013), James Hunt is seen throwing up before races.
- Pro skater Mike McGill mentioned in The Bones Brigade An Autobiography that he threw up during a competition in Texas behind the ramp due to the stress of losing the contest. This was back in the time when skateboarding was all about the contests and if lost, the skaters will lose their pro status.
- Discussed in Coming to America. Azeem's mother tells him that the day she was to meet his father (who she was to marry) she was so nervous she became nauseated.
- Coach Boone does this before the first game in Remember the Titans. His nervousness is Justified as one loss will end his new coaching job.
- In the fourth story of the anthology Wild Tales, Ariel throws up when his wife tells him she will make his life a living hell after finding out about his affair.
- In Mister Roberts, the Captain does this into a wastebasket after becoming totally unwound during his final confrontation with Roberts, though the viewer only hears about it from the crewman who is watching the scene through a window.
- In Animal House, after Dean Wormer informs the members of Delta House that they have all been expelled from Faber College (as well as his notifying their local draft boards that they are all now eligible for military service), Flounder loses his lunch.
Flounder: I can't believe I threw up in front of Dean Wormer.Boon: Face it, Kent, you threw up on Dean Wormer.
- In Death Wish, after Kersey kills his first mugger, he goes home to the bathroom and throws up in his toilet. He eventually gets used to killing muggers, however.
- Michael Haneke likes this trope. In both Funny Games and Time of the Wolf the mother vomits after witnessing home invaders shooting a loved one.
- Deadpool has Colossus deliver a soaring, baritone, Russian-accented monologue to Deadpool about the virtues of showing mercy to the defeated enemy that Deadpool has at gunpoint. This being Deadpool, you can guess what Wade does instead. Colossus instantly vomits.
- In The Revenant, a character vomits when seeing the horrible wounds on the protagonist inflicted by a Grizzly.
- In the film 12, Nikita Mikhalkov's Russian remake of the classic 12 Angry Men, this happens to weak-stomached Juror Number 6 is bullied into changing his verdict to 'Guilty'. After an intense storytelling session he runs off to loudly vomit in the gym's bathroom.
- Dean Koontz's Phantoms. As a monster dissolves Gordy Brogan's body, Lisa Yamaguchi vomits into a nearby gutter.
- In Dangerous Spirit's "The Green Fairy", Sol gets extremely stressed after Carcy attempts to rape him, only to break up with him after getting saved by Niki. Sol then drives away Meg after she wouldn't get him more Absinthe, and afterwards, goes downstairs to eat a cold leftover steak, only to run back upstairs to puke it all back up. It's kinda sad, but gross.
- Early on in the 100Cupboards trilogy, this is Henry York's go-to response to any frightening or painful experience. He gets better eventually.
- Several of these in the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz:
- In Deryni Checkmate, Sean Lord Derry is on a reconnaissance mission for Morgan in the town of Fathane when he's accosted in an alley by two men who try to drug him. He kills one of them outright in his fight for freedom, but he has to slit the throat of the injured partner before the fellow comes to and raises the alarm. Derry leaves the alley and resumes his drunk act, retching in a nearby gutter. Passersby thought him simply drunk, "but Derry knew better."
- After his forces defeat those of Sicard and Loris at the climax of The King's Justice, Kelson goes in search of Duncan McLain. On seeing the extent of Duncan's injuries, Kelson is so lightheaded he must put his head briefly between his knees. When he assists the men treating Duncan by using his powers on Duncan's mind, the memories of Duncan's torture and near-execution combined with his present pain are too much for Kelson; Morgan takes over, and he is violently sick before passing out from exhaustion.
- In the epilogue to The Quest for Saint Camber, we learn that the execution of Kelson's cousin Conall for treason went badly, partly because the executioner was unnerved at having to kill a Haldane prince, and partly because Conall himself flinched: "It had taken two more blows to end the matter—though at least Conall knew nothing after the first—and Kelson had been violently and wretchedly sick as soon as he was out of public view."
- In Going Postal, after Moist von Lipwig kills an assassin in self defense (which results in Ludicrous Gibs), the text notes that it would be the perfect time for a Bond One-Liner. Instead, Moist just becomes noisily sick.
- Subverted in The Turkish Gambit, when Varya throws up after spending days bandaging the wounded and, to top it off, learning that her fiance attempted suicide. She thinks that it's just stress but it turns out that she contracted typhoid fever, putting her out of commission for weeks.
- Late in Lynn Shepherd's 2012 novel The Solitary House, protagonist and investigator Charles Maddox finds his housemaid vomiting in the kitchen, and he learns from another servant that she had been accosted while buying provisions at the markets and a package was added to her basket. The package proves to contain the decaying remains of the little finger from Charles's right hand, which had been forcibly amputated in an attack on him several days previously.
- Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe
- In Song of the Lioness, Alanna throws up after killing for the first time, and after helping the wounded in the field hospital. When she says it makes her feel like a sissy, Jon confesses that it happened to him too. It happens again in the final book when she has to kill her friend and Rival Turned Evil Alex.
- Keladry from Protector of the Small threw up several times after having to deal with heights in the first two books. She gets over it after having to climb down the tallest tower in the Palace (and possibly kingdom) in Page.
- In Chosen, Zoey repeatedly vomits whenever she hears shocking bad news.
- Part of Horatio Hornblower's seasickness when he sets sail is due to this. Invariably, preparing his ship for sea is a chaotic affair that requires him to refit the ship, advertise hopelessly for qualified seamen who'd rather be in the merchant service, buy the basic supplies of clothing to last the voyage, and usually requiring him to pawn some or all of his valuables to cope with the expense. When going aboard in Commodore, however, he realizes that his stomach isn't giving him the least trouble and puts it down to the fact that he's not beset by these woes—he's going aboard a ship that someone else (that is, Captain Bush) has already completed.
- Spenser throws up in Mortal Stakes after he's forced to kill two mob men in self-defense. Happens again in A Catskill Eagle when he's again forced into a position of having to kill a pimp in cold blood.
- In the Alternate History novel K is for Killing by Daniel Easterman, a British intelligence agent throws up after killing an American policeman. The vomit is later analyzed and revealed to contain the ingredients of ersatz coffee, proof that the murderer landed from a submarine from war-torn Europe.
Live Action Television
- M*A*S*H: After B.J. first arrives in Korea, he faces a young Korean girl injured in a minefield, pinned down by guerilla sniper fire, and having to assist foot soldiers under mortar fire, all before he even got to camp; at one point, when he sees how badly a soldier had been wounded (and killed) by mortar fire, and the situation finally sinks in, he crawls over to a thicket of tall grass to vomit, while Hawkeye holds his head for him.
- Grey's Anatomy. Episode 1: Meredith almost kills a patient through inaction. After a stressful moment that patient is saved and Meredith endures the scorn of her attending physician and her resident. She rushes out of the hospital into the pouring rain to empty her guts tastefully into the bushes.
- Horatio Hornblower
- "Mutiny": A sailor from Hornblower's division falls down from a mast and gets smashed on the deck. His blood splatters on Midshipman Wellard, who promptly throws up.
- Horatio is known to suffer from seasickness when he comes aboard any ship before a cruise after being ashore. In "Duty", he's heard vomiting in his cabin; however, it happened just before his wedding and he was having cold feet, so his stomach might have been unsettled by being nervous.
- Sex and the City: Carrie throws up in the sink when she discovers Aiden's engagement ring. She finds it ugly and she's not very certain about their relationship. A reaction this strong surprises her though.
- Midsomer Murders: one character immediately starts vomiting when she learns the guy she's been banging through the whole episode is actually her nephew. He doesn't really react to that, given that he also just learned he's the product of Brother–Sister Incest.
- In a Flashback episode of The Mentalist showing Jane's first case with the CBI, before he even becomes an official "consultant," he vomits after seeing his first dead body.
- On Night Court, Christine is so stressed out over whether she should accept a marriage proposal that she throws up in Dan's briefcase - we don't see it, but Bull figures out how to use his instant camera right then and captures it.
- Danger: UXB. Lieutenant Ash throws up after defusing his first unexploded bomb.
- Game of Thrones. As Stannis' invasion fleet sails up Blackwater Bay to attack King's Landing, a soldier in the hold throws up into a barrel already full to the brim with vomit.
- ER trotted this one out fairly often. One of the most poignant examples was the usually hard-hearted Kerry Weaver—who has been an ER physician for 10-15 years—well beyond the point where she might be affected by gory injuries—throwing up after having just discovered two of her coworkers bleeding to death from multiple stab wounds and promptly spending the next 30 minutes trying to revive and stabilize them.
- iCarly: This may be Gibby's response to Mr. Howard giving him triple detention.
- The Sopranos has an epic version, when Adriana is pressured into becoming an informant for the Feds and suddenly blows chunks all over the conference table.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy throws up in her living room after finding her mother dead.
- The Wire has McNulty throw up while listening to this tape of fellow cop Kima Greggs getting shot during an undercover sting. Lt. Rawls then drags him away and insists it's not his fault, and if it were Rawls would be the first to beat his ass for it.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Old Snake has a stress meter, and if you kill too many people he'll throw up and have audio flashbacks.
- Spec Ops: The Line: Before the final meeting with Konrad Walker, after being forced to run away from an assault by the 33rd on him and Adams (which the latter does not survive), he throws up when he has a moment to rest.
- In the 2002 game The Thing (2002) your teammates do this.
- In the first mission of Hotline Miami, protagonist "Jacket" vomits next to the body of a man he just killed. Jacket is a war veteran, as reviled in the prologue comic, so it isn't due to him being squeamish towards violence.
- In Heavy Rain, Ethan will vomit if you make him kill the drug dealer during the Shark trial.
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, after Hugo orders the Samurai to continue scouting out Tokyo for mystic relics even after the capture of the Black Samurai, Walter, heavily disgusted by this snippet of news, complains of "an overabundance of yellow bile that must be relieved" and leaves.
- Persona 4's newbie detective Adachi throws up off screen upon seeing the body of the first murder victim. As he's the one who killed her, it's not clear whether he was faking it or it was a legitimate reaction to actually realizing what he had accomplished.
- In both [PROTOTYPE] and its sequel, the pedestrians may vomit if they see the protagonist in his full viral glory.
- In Outlast, Miles vomits after having two of his fingers gruesomely chopped off with a pair of bone shears, courtesy of the crazed Doctor Trager. In first person, too!
- At the beginning of Fable I, the young Hero vomits in the street after being teleported away from the corpse of his father and his freshly-torched Doomed Hometown. His rescuer snidely says that he'd expected him to have a stronger stomach.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, when Keiichi tries to pat Satoko's head after her uncle has been abusing her, Satoko has a complete mental breakdown, and in the process vomits all over the floor.
- In Jacksfilms' "Dubstep Solves Everything" video, Jack's convulsing to his own dubstep noises makes the girl he's coming onto puke in distress and creeped-out-ness.
- In Tales of the Questor, when an arrested gang leader threaten's Quentyn's family, Quentyn breaks his nose, gives him a long list of reasons not to try, and stomps out...and then promptly vomits into a trash can as soon as he's out of sight.
- In Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Lucy vomits after Mike's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- In Clarissa the title character does this at an extremely awkward family breakfast, because her father is sexually abusing her.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil does this after the first book salvaging mission ends with him, Sigrun and Lalli narrowly escaping a bunch of trolls that turned out to be nesting in the building.
- In The Awesomes, Muscleman reveals that he rarely freaks out due to long experience with the bizarre things that happen around superheroes, but when he does, he vomits. The episode then has him vomit repeatedly.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Jake the Dog", Jake vomits after realizing the gravity of the present situation: his wish to Prismo is the only chance he has to save the world, and he has to be specific, or else there could be disastrous consequences.
- Sterling Archer of, well, Archer will throw up if he pictures someone sleeping with his mother.
- In South Park, Stan vomits whenever Wendy talks to him, sometimes even vomiting on her. They're still an item in spite of this.
- In the Gravity Falls episode "Carpet Diem, after the twins trigger the accidental body swap, Mabel (in Dipper's body) is so shocked and distressed that she ends puking in the toilet.
- It's not uncommon for people who have panic attacks to report extreme nausea and even vomiting prior to and during the panic attack. This can sometimes make the distressed person think they've been taken ill with something more serious like a heart attack, which of course only makes the problem worse.