Humorous disease names

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Jun 4 21:54:58 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 5:49 PM, Jim Parish <jparish at> wrote:
> I wrote:
> > I recall a reference to "slitting someone from guzzle to zorch" in
> > one of Piers Anthony's Xanth novels.
> Arnold Zwicky replied:
> > you might be sort-of-remembering the threat of the Cold Duke of Coffin
> > Castle in James Thurber's The 13 Clocks (1957):
> >
> > "And if I fail?" asked Zorn.
> >
> > The Duke removed his sword from the sword-cane and ran his glove along
> > the blade. "I'll slit you from your guggle to your zatch, and feed you
> > to the Todal."
> It's possible - I've certainly read a lot of Thurber - but "guzzle to zorch"
> is what I remember.
> Thinking about it, Anthony's _Castle Roogna_ seems like the strongest
> possibility.

Google Book Search finds it in Poul Anderson's _Satan's World_ ("No
matter what we Solar Spicers may be guilty of, police going to
investigate you from guzzle to zorch") and more recently in Joel
Rosenberg's _Not Exactly the Three Musketeers_ ("You don't have to
deal with hairy, smelly strangers who want to slit you from guzzle to
zorch and back again").

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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