The etymology of this word was the subject of some debate when this page was still at Wikipedia. I am copy-pasting that debate below. I do not have the necessary content knowledge to judge who is correct in this debate. Rossami 21:15, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Spelling of Lurg*
I have made a note in the article to reflect the correct spelling, but retained the -y ending in the main body of the text as this has become a more popular and widespread spelling of the word--Crais459 08:37, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
- Hi Crais I've changed the spelling back to 'Lurgi' as a quick google shows it to be twice as common a spelling as 'lurgy'. Cooke 15:09, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Origin of Lurgy/i
The Goons did not invent the term 'lurgy', they merely popularised it. Lurgy was already a common term in the South Downs region (where Spike Milligan lived) for many years before the term was ever used on the radio. I would strongly suggest allowing the article to be modified to reflect this in some way. This unsigned comment was made by a user from anon IP 18.104.22.168
As a keen amateur etymologist, I have done some extensive research into the origins of the word and can find no reference to it being used in the South Downs before the 1950s - the closest I have found is in turn-of-the-century Northern England where Fever-Lurgan or Fever-Lurgy meant "the disease of idleness". It is possible that Eric Sykes/Spike Milligan based it on this. The OED states the Goon Show as being the origin of the word in its present form, but if you are able to evidence a South Downs origin, please feel free to edit the article to reflect this --Crais459 08:37, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
- I've downgraded the 'Fever-lurgy' suggestion, and suggest that it be removed as Original Research unless there is some hard evidence for it.22.214.171.124 (talk) 15:45, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
- It's really easy to verify, the thurgy-lurgy must have kept you from it. Quinion cites the 1898 English Dialect Dictionary (online at archive.org) for "lurgy from northern England as an adjective meaning idle or lazy" and "fever-largie, fever-lurden or fever-lurgan, a sarcastic dialect term for a supposed disease of idleness". It is apparently related to lurk: "The fever of lurk, two stomachs to eat, and neither one to work. Fever lurk, neither play nor work." (entry "Lurk", section 6, citations from Cornwall dialect glossaries). The EDD also has lurgy as a noun meaning "idleness, laziness" and lurgies as "The 'blues' which come after intemperance". Enough? --126.96.36.199 23:55, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Origins of "lurgy"
In an interview, Spike Milligan said he saw the word on a London construction site and fell in love with it. The company is German but operates internationally, or at least they did 25 years ago when they designed a high intensity rock grinding machine for the South African Chamber of Mines. It never worked. This unsigned comment was made by a user from anon IP 188.8.131.52
The German Lurgi company was founded in the 1880s and still exists (see the Wikipedia "Lurgi AG" article). Given its range of business activities and Milligan's military service, is it possible that he encountered explosive shells made by Lurgi during his time in North Africa?
It is possible that Lurgy derives from Allergy, as word play involving deliberate mispronunciation is not unknown in the UK. Harry. 20:47, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
- I've also downgraded this, and would suggest removing it unless there's some hard evidence.184.108.40.206 (talk) 15:46, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
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I have heard that German company Lurgi was the first German company to work (??) in England after the war and that's were the origins of the saying started.
Goin' down the lhergy means going downhill in life. (from Gaelic Lhiargee or Lhiargagh meaning "slope")
It is possible that the Gaelic etmology ties in with 18th and 19th Century anti-Irish sentiment in England. I understand that during the 19th Century Irish famine, the English were led to believe that the Irish were workshy and lazy, rather than starving. See this article and ref to book on famines by Amartya Sen. So that would tie in if Irish people said they were going down hill / down the lhergy, this was disparaged as just being workshy. I understand there were also famines in Ireland in the 18th Century, but not as well documented Sunshineramsey1971 (talk) 01:36, 13 February 2017 (UTC)(talk) 01:25, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Wait, this is a thing?
My only familiarity with the word is from an offhand reference in Harry Potter and I had assumed that the author invented it herself. Since she was obviously making reference to something older, someone should mention her books somewhere in here, seems like. Excalibre 23:30, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
18th century use in Cornwall
"Lurgy, qu. feaver lurgy, i.e. the Fever of Laziness; a pretended Fever; i.e. no Fever at all. Qu." this quote is from A Cornish-English Vocabulary in the second edition of William Borlase's Antiquities, Historical and Monumental, of the County of Cornwall published in 1769. Bodrugan (talk) 21:15, 11 October 2015 (UTC)