One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A serious infectious disease, particularly syphilis.
plague, bubonic plague, the black deathView synonyms
- ‘Congenital lues up to the time of puberty may simulate acute articular rheumatism.’
- ‘On the other hand, I readily admit the influence of a milder form of lues venerea.’
- ‘The lues venerea can only be said to be incurable when the disease is got to that deplorable point by neglect, that the emaciated and hectic state of the patient's constitution forbids the use of mercury.’
Mid 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘plague’.
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