Humorous disease names

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jun 7 15:33:51 UTC 2008

At 10:33 AM -0400 6/7/08, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Sat, Jun 7, 2008 at 9:19 AM, Jim Parish <jparish at> wrote:
>>  (Returning to the subject of James Herriot, I recall one of his clients
>>  referring to "smilin' Harry syphilis"; if I recall correctly, this was a
>>  misinterpretation of "swine erysipelas", but I don't have the books
>>  anymore.)
>There's a lot of (mostly apocryphal) medical malapropisms/eggcorns out there:
>sick as hell anemia -> sickle cell anemia
>spinal meningitis -> smilin' mighty Jesus

or the even more popular "smile on mighty Jesus"

>Alzheimer's disease -> old timer's disease
>phenobarbital -> peanut butter balls
and then there are all those disorders of the prostrate...


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