lurgy

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A nonce word popularized by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes, scriptwriters for a 9 November 1954 programme of The Goon Show, "Lurgi Strikes Britain", in which Ned Seagoon must deal with a national outbreak of a highly dangerous, highly infectious and — as it turns out — highly fictitious disease known as the Dreaded Lurgi.[1] Folk etymologies for this word include:

  • that it is a corruption and contraction of the allergy. This is not supported by the use of the hard 'g' in lurgi (rhyming with Fergie), as allergy has a softer 'g' sound similar to a hard 'j'.[1]
  • that it is based on the Northern English dialectic phrase fever-lurgy (lazy or idle).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

lurgy (plural lurgies)

  1. (UK, slang) A fictitious, highly infectious disease; often used in the phrase "the dreaded lurgi", sometimes as a reference to flu-like symptoms

Synonyms[edit]

  • cooties (US) (Only in the playground sense.)

Usage notes[edit]

  • Phrases like "I've got the lurgi" are commonly heard when somebody is explaining why they cannot attend a social occasion, come to work, etc.
  • The term is also used in the context of playground games. For example, "You can't play with us, you've got the lurgi!" could be used when excluding another child from a group.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Quinion, Michael, "The Dreaded Lurgi", World Wide Words.