One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A condition affecting the Inuit peoples in winter, characterized by an episode of wild excitement and irrational behaviour followed by a period of stupor or unconsciousness, sometimes with apparent seizures; also called Arctic hysteria. Also: a condition characterized by aggressive behaviour and seizures affecting dogs or other animals in the Arctic.
Late 19th century. From 19th-cent. North Greenlandic (Polar Eskimo) *pivliʀuʀtuq is mad, has Arctic hysteria, has a drum-dance fit, has Arctic dog disease; compare West Greenlandic pillerortoq, perlerortoq is crazy, with a root earlier written pivdle-, peble-, and pibli-.
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