Q: Latin or pseudo-Latin "ulcocalculus"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Mar 8 15:53:42 UTC 2013

The solution has been provided by several Sherlocks on an email list
dedicated to the 18th century.  I can only say, as Dr. Watson, "How
absurdly simple", and be put down by "Quite so. Every problem is
absurdly simple when it is explained to you."

Boylston >> Boil Stone >> Ulcocalculus.

I am extremely embarrassed to have gone through Roget's for synonyms
for "ulcer" as "sore" and passed by "boil" without a second thought.

I should have given more context.  It's in a "quack's harangue"
adapted by William Douglass, from an English one of his time, to mock
Boylston, and surely Douglass's method of identifying his target
without explicitly naming him.

(Actually, moderately clever -- it alludes at the same time to
Boylston's gallstone surgeries.)


At 3/7/2013 03:30 PM, you wrote:
>At 3/7/2013 02:34 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>On Mar 7, 2013, at 1:50 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> > If Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, who in 1710 performed the first operation by
>> > an American to remove a gallstone, was called an "ulcocalculus", what
>> > would that mean?  I get as far as "calculus" = "stone", but then it
>> > becomes guesswork.  "Ulco" from "ulcus" in the sense of "sore" or
>> > "abscess" -- an insulting appellation, a nonce-word?  How might that
>> > be expressed in English?  "Sore-stone"?
>> >
>> > Joel
>> >
>>ulcer stone?
>A literal translation, but do ulcers have stones?
>However!  Perhaps along these lines -- "Ulcer", something "forming an
>open sore attended with a secretion of pus or other morbid
>matter".  Then 2.a, fig., "Any corroding or corrupting influence; a
>morally diseased or unsound element" and
>[2.]b. "Applied to persons. rare."
>1602   J. Marston Antonios Reuenge i. iv. sig. B4v,   Yon putred
>vlcer of my roiall bloode.
>1615   R. Brathwait Strappado 34   This wicked vlcer that corrupts
>the state, Nere thinkes of death, till that it be too late.
>Boylston as "a corrupting influence"?  In this interpretation, all I
>need is some pithy, insulting appellation with a near or remote
>connotation of ulcers/ulcerations/sores and (gall) stones! Perhaps
>(since Boylston was associated with smallpox inoculation) "Mr. Pocky-
>or "Variolar-stone"; or (are we here?) "Mr. Tumerous-stone"?

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