Humorous disease names

Brenda Lester alphatwin2002 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Jun 7 20:23:30 UTC 2008

people back in the old days would say "yellow jaundice" and "sugar diabetes."

--- On Sat, 6/7/08, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Humorous disease names
Date: Saturday, June 7, 2008, 11:33 AM

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Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Humorous disease names

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
>>  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
>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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