SOUR MILK SWELLING
Scurvy, that disease brought about by a lack of Vitamin C, has pretty milky origins. Originally spelled scurfy, it used to be an adjective meaning "covered in scabs". The meaning narrowed because of exposure to a Dutch cognate which actually meant the disease, and the definition was extended because people with scurvy develop scabs and similar symptoms. Though it is somewhat uncertain, it is likely that scurfy comes from the Old Norse term skyrbjugr, which literally meant "sour milk swelling", of the elements skyr, "sour milk", and bjugr, "swelling". The correlation here is because of how scurvy sufferers' stomachs could swell after swallowing sour milk. That's one theory, however. Other possibilities include the Middle Low German schoren, which meant "to lacerate", because of lacerations in the stomach caused by scurvy. So, yeah, a lot of stomach stuff associated with scurvy.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.