Monday, 20 April 2020

🤬 or the dutch disease

Not to be confused with the economists’ coinage or this other economic hysteria attributed to the Low Country, we find ourselves directed to a pair of articles on Dutch curses—which tend not to fixate on the social taboos of religion (see also these fantastic French Canadian swears) sex and other bodily functions, but rather on illness.
For a proper telling-off, one might be called poxy or told to get consumption (krijg de tering), and witnessing the deserved misfortune of a rival, one might laugh oneself into pleurisy (lachen je de pleuris) and so forth. There are competing theories about how this might have arisen, the chief being that health and hygiene reflected virtue and prosperity—indeed that cleanliness was next to godliness, and it seems even as a lot of these maladies are antiquated and vanquished to be circumspect to keep terms for old ailments fossilised in common-parlance. The typographical universal stand-ins for profane language are called grawlixes—a term thought up by illustrator Mort Walker in his 1980 Lexicon of Comicana that examined some of the conventions (see also) employed by cartoonists. Another coinage from the same source—though perhaps not as widely used are plewds, the name giving to droplets of sweat emanating from a physically taxed or emotional distressed character.