Posted by Masakim on October 17, 2001
In Reply to: Lurgy posted by James Briggs on October 17, 2001
: : I'm hoping a Scotsman/woman can help me out here. Colleagues in my office refuse to think that lurgy/lergy/or similar such spellings is a term for the sniffles or colds. Anyone agree or have the etymology of the term?
: : Thanks!
: The 'dreaded lurgy' is a well know expression in the UK for any form of mild illness. I guess it's a shortening of the 'dreaded allergy'.
lurgi/lurgy n. [1950s+] any unspecified but deleterious disease or ailment; esp. as the minatory phr. _dreaded lurgi_. [apparently coined by the writers of _The Goon Show_ (1953-60), but the _EED_ cites _lurgy_, idleness, loafing + _lurgy-fever_, the 'disease' of idleness. The _OED_ adds the synon. _fever-lurden_, _fever-lurgan_, ult. SE _fever_ + _lurdan_, 'a general term of opprobrium, reproach, or abuse, implying either dullness and incapacity, or idleness and rascality; a sluggard, vagabond, "loafer"']
I was beginning to feel weak and knew that I had caught the dreaded swamp lurgy. (Hamish MacInnes, 1974)