Language is a funny old thing. We take it for granted most of the time, but it’s incredible to think that countless people have come to almost the same understanding of what some randomly ordered letters refer to. It’s even stranger when you start looking at things like slang words, or words that were once on the tip of every tongue that no one even remembers anymore. Some of these words need to be brought back. Others need to be forgotten…


That’s as in, “The town was gripped with the oysterics as people started dropping like flies from the worst case of food poisoning anyone had ever seen.”
It’s a serious idea with a bit of a tongue-in-cheek wordplay, and archivist James Redding Ware says it’s a play on the word “hysterics.” At the turn of the 20th century, a very real health scare swept through England. It was believed bad oysters had caused an outbreak of typhoid fever, and the resulting public health panic was dubbed “oysterics.” The term was used for years after the original outbreak, and it probably needs to make a comeback because you can never have too much satire in the world.
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