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  #1  
Old 22 June 2009, 01:16 AM
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Crash The clap

Comment: I was recently told by a Navy friend that the origin of "the
clap" (gonorrhea) was that a book or some other object was slammed on a
penis in order to clear it of infection, and thus a clapping sound was
made. I've seen this version and a more believable version of it being a
shortened French word.

So what's the answer?
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  #2  
Old 22 June 2009, 02:49 AM
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Hmmm...

The derivation from the French clapoir or clapier makes sense, as those are the Middle French for buboe/sore and brothel, respectively. Conflating the two would equal "brothel sore", a decent description for gonorrhea.

As for the more modern theory of "clapping" to clean out the pus/infection, that does have some merit. In the days before antibiotics (particularly penicillin), one treatment was a solution of mercury into the urethra. The patient's penis was then squeezed to remove the solution and the pus, hopefully clearing the infection.

Both make sense. Perhaps the French term gave the idea behind the later technique?
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Old 22 June 2009, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey View Post
As for the more modern theory of "clapping" to clean out the pus/infection, that does have some merit. In the days before antibiotics (particularly penicillin), one treatment was a solution of mercury into the urethra. The patient's penis was then squeezed to remove the solution and the pus, hopefully clearing the infection.
Please tell me that people who endured that at least sometimes got cured. I'm not hopeful, though.
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Old 22 June 2009, 03:19 AM
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Actually, yes. Mercuric sulfide is fairly effective against gonorrhea, just not as effective as penicillin.

As they said on the History Channel: "Some men could endure this treatment without even screaming!"
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Old 26 June 2009, 08:09 PM
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That's because they passed out. OW!
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Old 28 June 2009, 05:11 AM
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Yeah, the end of the syringe was about the size of a pencil.
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  #7  
Old 01 July 2009, 11:03 PM
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Etymonline and The American Heritage Dictionary both give the French derivation of "clapier," though they both note that it's not certain.
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Old 02 July 2009, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Billion View Post
Etymonline and The American Heritage Dictionary both give the French derivation of "clapier," though they both note that it's not certain.
I find this Old-French etymology rather surprising, as French slang for Gonorrhea has been Chaude Pisse (hot pee) for centuries.
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Old 02 July 2009, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrano View Post
I find this Old-French etymology rather surprising, as French slang for Gonorrhea has been Chaude Pisse (hot pee) for centuries.
It doesn't need to be a direct translation though. English-speakers could have picked up the words clapier or clapoir in the same context as picking up some kind of STI and then used them to mean something different.
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Old 02 July 2009, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
a book or some other object was slammed on a
penis in order to clear it of infection, and thus a clapping sound was
made.
If somebody slammed a book on my penis, you would never be able to hear the clapping sound over the loud screams of pain.
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  #11  
Old 04 July 2009, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkMcD View Post
If somebody slammed a book on my penis, you would never be able to hear the clapping sound over the loud screams of pain.
As much as many gonorrhea infections hurt, what's a little more pain?
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Old 05 July 2009, 11:08 PM
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The OED says: "[Of uncertain origin. Cf. OF. ‘clapoir, bosse, bubo, panus inguinis’; ‘clapoire, clapier, lieu de débauche, maladie q'on y attrape’.]'

First cite from 1587, long before there was a U.S. Navy.
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  #13  
Old 12 July 2009, 03:38 AM
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Fright Youch! alert Youch! alert Youch! alert

Back in his Navy corpsman days, my husband (allegedly) knew a urology tech who solved the problem of a sailor's gonorrhea stricture thusly (this will creep you men out--don't say I didn't warn you): sailor was instructed to lay penis on table, urology tech (or maybe it was a doctor) hits it with a rubber mallet. Blood, pus and piss go flying everywhere. Problem solved.
IIRC DH got this story second or maybe even third hand, so I cannot vouch for it.
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  #14  
Old 13 July 2009, 05:25 PM
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That's how it's done, even today.
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  #15  
Old 28 July 2009, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey View Post
That's how it's done, even today.
So DH was not embellishing it!
Well if that doesn't teach someone to behave himself, I don't know what will.

Back in my medical library tech days, one of the circulating books was about dermatological aspects of infectious diseases. Lots of lovely color photos of all manner of things, including STDs in both men and women. Great scared straight book IMO.
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