Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Lurgy, Lurgi or Lurden
Posted by M.H. Forsyth
Apologies for lack of posts. I have been struck down with a loathsome and lingering lurgy. Lurgy is a purely British term for an unspecified but horrid disease that is doing the rounds, and it was invented by comedians. The first recorded case of lurgy appeared in a 1959 episode of The Goon Show Lurgi Strikes Britain*. That episode was written by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes, so I blame them for my current condition.
However, the OED, in an uncharacteristic fit of theorising, suggests that those writers may just possibly have got it from fever-lurdan, or the disease of laziness. Fever-lurdan was a facetious term not recorded after 1806, but its last recorded spelling was fever-largie, so maybe there's something in the connection. I'm either too lazy or too ill to research further.
By the way, as a fun bit of trivia, Jimi Hendrix first started taking acid because it made listening to the Goons much funnier.
Merry Christmas one and all.
*The Goons spelled it Lurgi, the OED has it as Lurgy, presumably to differentiate it from lurgi the chemical process of gasification (which is horribly relevant to me).