the clap

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Senior Member

"While he was carving his beechwood leg and hobbling about on a crutch, he contracted a particularly virulent dose of the clap from a Negro girl who whistled at him from under a pile of lumber and charged him ten cents." J.Steinbeck

A sexually transmitted disease I think. But please tell me which one in common name.

  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It used to be a very common name for it, as its use in the Steinbeck suggests. To illustrate the fact I'll mention a very poor joke someone told me centuries back about a doctor who gave a talk on these diseases, and at the end received the clap he so richly deserved. A ill-favoured thing, and not mine own.


    Senior Member
    English, UK
    The uncertain origin of the term given by Online Etymological Dictionary is as follows:

    clap (n.)
    "gonorrhea," 1587, of unknown origin, perhaps from M.E. claper, from O.Fr. clapoire, originally "rabbit burrow" but given a slang extension to "brothel." Originally also a v., "to infect with clap." (Note that the disease is spelt gonorrhoea in British English).
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