Saturday, January 7, 2012

Terrible diseases with pretty names

So colorful! If you're trying to make me scared of germs, it's not working! I love these guys!

Language is a mysterious thing, pilgrims. If you doubt this, consider the fact that many terrible diseases and illnesses actually have quite beautiful names. Here are some of my favorites. I know it may seem silly, but please read these names aloud and concentrate on  how they sound rather than what they mean.
  • Chlamydia
  • Diphtheria
  • Cholera
  • Gonorrhea
  • Colitis
  • Syphilis
  • Rubella
  • Malaria
  • Jaundice
And perhaps most beautiful of all...
  • Cirrhosis

It's a pity these lovely words are attached to such unpleasant conditions. If you are skeptical, I will leave you with this anecdote from Richard Lederer's book, Crazy English:
Clearly the impact that words have upon us is baffling. Sound and meaning work their dual magic upon us in ways that ear and mind alone cannot always analyze. Consider, for example, the foreign couple who decided to name their first daughter with the most beautiful English word they had ever heard.
They named the child Diarrhea.

1 comment:

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