Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting Sick in the Dark Ages

The Dark Ages were a strange and earthy time for sickness. You could suffer from “dew-worm” (ringworm). Your sudden pain could be from elf-shot. Your cure could come from sheep dung or stale urine.
     Should a time machine ever thrust you back, here are 10 words from Old English Leechdoms (ca 1150) that might be good to know:
     tarse – penis
     lant – stale urine
     fast – constipated
     attery – venomous
     share – pubic region
     clock – a stomach sound
     sigalder – charm or incantation
     to fnast – to pant, or breathe fire
     gound – foul matter secreted by the eye
     treddle – sheep poop (this word evolved toward “turdyll”).

Image: Terra Vim.
Definitions: OED Online.

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