So what do you know about "sugar", "sugar diabetes", or "the sugar" being used as synonyms for "diabetes"? And how did that meaning come to be, exactly?
A friend's Facebook post has piqued my curiosity about people using "sugar" (or phrases that include the word "sugar") as a synonym for diabetes mellitus
. This usage is pretty alien to me personally, but according to this post on Everything2
, it's used widely in eastern North America, in Canada as well as in the South.
However, a preliminary Google and Wikipedia search yields little, so I'm wondering if any of you have either firsthand knowledge of people using "sugar" in this way (and who/where), or can point me to resources either online or offline, such as books or articles by linguists, that could elucidate the range, origins and/or evolution of this usage. I'm especially interested in how "diabetes" evolved in folk usage to "sugar", and what the stages were along the way. Did it have multiple, independent origins, or did it start in one small area and spread everywhere else? Is there a class or ethnic dimension? I'm also interested in the firsthand accounts, as that could help build a picture (albeit anecdotal) of how widespread this usage really is, or was.