List Rules Vote up the most infectious oldschool STD euphemisms.
Slang is forever evolving. For example, if you look at what was popular in the 1930s compared to the 1950s, you'll see a marked difference. And old timey words for sex diseases are no different.
While lots of old slang words for STDs are still in use today, many have fallen out of favor and for good reason; they weren't exactly what anyone would call PC. For instance, names for syphilis through the centuries reflected ethnic, religious, and political rivalries. Other terms were less bigoted, but still packed enough description to elicit a cringe. Even so, there were STD euphemisms that sounded benign. In fact, if someone wasn't aware of the context, they might believe that the speakers were talking about a common cold... they weren't.
Above all, slang for STDs paints an interesting history. It reveals society's attitudes towards sexual health and shows how far treatment has come. So why not brush up on some of the great euphemisms of yore?
list ordered by
The Gift That Keeps On Giving Herpes. It was given this nickname because the disease is chronic and cannot be cured.
The Clap Gonorrhea. The origin of "the clap" is debatable, but some believe it comes from the word "clapier," which means "brothel" in Middle French. Other theories include "clappan" (the ...
Crotch Crickets Crabs. It's said that under a microscope, public lice look like little crabs. But crickets are a close second.
Social Disease A term for venereal disease. Hard to catch one if you're not social.
The Drip Gonorrhea comes from the Greek word gonos (sperm) and rhea (flow). Considering that one of the symptoms is a discharge, "the drip" is an accurate (and icky) description.
French Malady This was the Italian nickname for syphilis.
Communicable Diseases STDs. Because it takes a village to raise infectious disease.
Seven Year Itch Scabies' epidemic cycle would rise and fall in roughly seven years. Plus it itches like nobody's business.
The Great Pox A common name for syphilis was the pox, which could be easily confused with smallpox. The great pox served as a way to clear up any ambiguity.
Social Hygiene Social hygiene referred to the control of venereal disease. The movement started in the late 19th century and became the basis for health education in schools.
The Great Imitator Syphilis. Its symptoms "imitate" other venereal diseases, so it was often misdiagnosed.
Spanish Pox Syphilis. Sailors under Columbus brought this back to Spain.
Christian Disease The Turks used this as a slang term for syphilis.
Neapolitan Disease Syphilis. French soldiers brought syphilis back home after they besieged Naples in the 15th century.