|About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us|
You are not logged in. [Log In] Wordsmith.org » Forums » (Old) Weekly themes. (have been consolidated into a single forum above) » Words from medicine » syphilis sive morbus gallicus Register User Forum List Calendar Active Topics Search FAQ
#134938 - 11/06/04 09:07 AM syphilis sive morbus gallicus
Most people know that the STD syphilis is named after the shepherd Syphilis who is the hero of a poem, Syphilis, sive morbus Gallicus (Syphilis, or the French disease) written by the Reneaissance physician Girolamo Fracastoro [1478–1553] and published in 1530. Least any of our francophone friends be upset with the term French disease, it should be remembered that syphilis was also called the Spanish disease (because Columbus' sailors supposedly brought it back from the New World), the German disease, and the Neapolitan (sometimes Italian) disease. (The English disease being saved for another thing entirely.)
I've never seen an etymology of syphilis offered, other than the eponymous shepherd hero. It occurs to me that it could possibly have been derived from suphe(i)os 'hog-sty' by Fracastoro (connected with Latin sus 'hog' and English swine, and which reminds me of Elizabethan and Jacobean stews 'a brothel'), though this latter is not related to sty, but rather Greek tuphus 'fever' whence our disease typhus. A sty is an enclosure for swine, but also an inflammation of a sebaceous gland in the eye.
Another term for syphilis is lues 'plague, pestilence'; Tacitus describes in his History a invading German army as immensa belli lues 'a huge plague of war' (iii.15).
It also just dawned on me that I've never heard any of the folks upset with inflammable meaning combustible, ranting about inflammation. Hmm.
Forum Stats 8946 Members
Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members Daksh1, geoffhargreaves, Guadalupe, may2point0, Lonnie
8946 Registered Users
Who's Online 0 registered (), 22 Guests and 5 Spiders online. Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
wofahulicodoc 61 LukeJavan8 50 may2point0 13 May 3 Tromboniator 3 geoffhargreaves 1
wwh 13858 Faldage 13803 Jackie 11613 tsuwm 10538 LukeJavan8 8426 Buffalo Shrdlu 7210 wofahulicodoc 6784 AnnaStrophic 6511 Wordwind 6296 of troy 5400
Board Rules · Mark all read Contact Us · Wordsmith.org · Top
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.
Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat
© 1994-2016 Wordsmith