Diseases 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used  

Travis Morgan
960 votes 226 voters 13.5k views 25 items

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?

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
The Gift That Keeps On Giving Herpes. It was given this nickname because the disease is chronic and cannot be cured. 

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The Clap is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
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 ...

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Crotch Crickets is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Crotch Crickets Crabs. It's said that under a microscope, public lice look like little crabs. But crickets are a close second. 

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The Drip is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
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. 

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Social Disease is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Social Disease A term for venereal disease. Hard to catch one if you're not social. 

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French Malady is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
French Malady This was the Italian nickname for syphilis. 

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Seven Year Itch is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Seven Year Itch Scabies' epidemic cycle would rise and fall in roughly seven years. Plus it itches like nobody's business. 

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Communicable Diseases is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Communicable Diseases STDs. Because it takes a village to raise infectious disease. 

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The Great Pox is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
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. 

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Social Hygiene is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
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. 

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Spanish Pox is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Spanish Pox Syphilis. Sailors under Columbus brought this back to Spain. 

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The Great Imitator is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
The Great Imitator Syphilis. Its symptoms "imitate" other venereal diseases, so it was often misdiagnosed. 

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Neapolitan Disease is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Neapolitan Disease Syphilis. French soldiers brought syphilis back home after they besieged Naples in the 15th century. 

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Christian Disease is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Christian Disease The Turks used this as a slang term for syphilis. 

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Preventable Diseases is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Preventable Diseases A general term for STDs. Privates don't get roughed up if you wrap them up.  

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Bad Blood is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Bad Blood This was the name of the disease that subjects of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment were treated for.

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Special Ulcer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Special Ulcer Named after the chancre sores that are a symptom of syphilis. 

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Barnwell Ague is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Barnwell Ague A 17th-century name for gonorrhea. "Barnwell" stood for brothel district, and "ague" meant fever. 

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Castilian Disease is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Castilian Disease The Portuguese named syphilis after their rivals in Spain. 

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German Disease is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
German Disease A derogatory term for syphilis once used by the Polish. 

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British Disease is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
British Disease Syphilis. Tahitians believed that the disease came from England. 

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The Great Mimic is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
The Great Mimic Lesions of syphilis were often mistaken for scabies, leprosy, and skin cancer. Hence, it was called the great mimic. 

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Portuguese Disease is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Portuguese Disease The name the Japanese gave to syphilis. 

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Specific Stomach is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Specific Stomach Doctors once used this in place of saying syphilis. 

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Polish Disease is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 25 Really Weird Euphemisms For STDs People In The Past Actually Used
Polish Disease The Russian off-color nickname for syphilis.