One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(Originally) any fever deemed to be caused by putrefaction or accompanied by a putrid odour; (in later use) specifically typhus.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Peter Lowe (cc1550–1610), surgeon and founder of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. After post-classical Latin febris putrida; compare Middle French, French fièvre putride.
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