Humorous disease names

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Jun 5 12:14:28 UTC 2008

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, my mother would humorously designate any unpleasant and undiagnosed illness as a case of "the epizootics," pronouncing "epizootics" with 4 syllables ("-zoo-" as [zu]). Of course, there actually exists a word "epizootic," the standard pronunciation having 5 syllables. I assume the mispronunciation and misapplication of the term was intentional on my mother's part--or on the part of the person (or group) from whom (or which) she learned it.


The American Dialect Society -

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