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Subject:Drifting clouds of etymology From:SuePStewrt -at- AOL -dot- COM Date:Tue, 2 May 1995 15:46:12 -0400
In reference to the "Vapors". The term "Vapors" was originally a Southern
euphemism meaning flatulence. The term then changed in the Victorian era to
fainting or a dizzy spell. Since the Antebellum era predates the Victorian
by 50 years the original meaning is flatulence, or a Southern Lady's way of
showing good manners.<<
However, I believe you'll find that the term "vapors" as a fainting spell
predates the antebellum era by quite a bit; Merriam-Webster appears to
suggest the 14th century. Anyone have an OED for a more specific reference?
Sheesh, I've never heard of the, shall we say, more aromatic meaning!