The Daily Ping

Can't get enough of Paul and Ryan collaborations? Visit the It's 2011, Folks tumblelog!

July 31st, 2001

What is tetter?

On the Gold Bond Medicated Powder commerical, they’d always brag that their product helped relieve the itchiness associated with jock itch, psoriasis, and tetter. Tetter. Everyone I knew, I asked them, “What the hell is tetter?” No one knew. Not even the Gold Bond FAQ could tell me (though I now know that I can get a Gold Bond t-shirt!).

Tetter didn’t receive the type of notoriety you’d expect from a skin disease with such a recognizable name. Sure, it didn’t have the laugh value of “jock itch” or the funny spelling of “psoriasis,” but surely it’s more deserving than a end-of-the-list mention on a Gold Bond commerical.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, tetter is a term for “any of various skin diseases, such as eczema, psoriasis, or herpes, characterized by eruptions and itching.” Apparently, there are many kinds of tetter, including moist, branny, scally, scald-head, salt-rheum, and running tetter (many referenced here).

According to the landmark paper by J. Goens and P. Gheeraert titled “Skin Diseases in Shakespeare’s Works,” Shakespeare mentioned tetter in his works. For instance, tetter is used in both Coriolanus and Hamlet (“And a most instant tetter bark’d about, / Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust / All my smooth body.”).

And in closing, it’s clear that tetter is an important skin disease that has been overlooked far too long. Of all the popular skin diseases, I’d most like to have tetter. I think “running tetter” sounds the most fun, but I’d be willing to give “scally tetter” a chance, too.

Next skin disease from a Gold Bond commerical to tackle: Ring Worm. -ram

Posted in Just Plain Odd

Barton February 8, 2008, 10:16 pm

I always thought it was on the Blue Star Ointment commercials that tetter got its 15 minutes…..”Ringworm, Psoriasis, Tetter.” It sounds so old-world….like wobbles and thrump.

mia December 3, 2008, 5:16 am

When I get little itchy blisters that erupt out of nowhere – usually on my fingers, my 88-year old Grandma always said it was tetter. It itches like hell until they burst and hurt like hell after. I read somewhere it is an old Anglo-Saxon word – which makes sense considering my Grandma.

Eric Tetter March 8, 2009, 8:37 pm

my last name is tetter this is some bull s%%t

d money April 4, 2009, 4:34 am

While reading SULA by Toni Morrison, I ran across a reference to the now infamous tetter: “The tetter heads tried goading him…but not for long, for his curses were stingingly personal” (Vintage 15). Morrison uses “tetter heads” to characterize bothersome children. I think I’ll be using the phrase when I encounter little brats in line at the grocery store, a la “Leave off, tetter heads! I’m trying to scan my Frosted Flakes!”

Ty May 4, 2009, 3:44 pm

Also removes corns and calluses. Ask for it, it’s reccommended.

Bart August 15, 2010, 10:38 am

First of all, let me give you the scenario. Four paramedics are sitting around, thinking about old commercials, and the talk drifts to “what is tetter?” Being medical professionals, we google search it and come across the site here. Youre writing is not unlike to last 10 minutes of our conversation, and we know you’re a kindred spirit. On that note, good work.

So, although three of us agree with you, on the fact that it was indeed the Gold Bond commercial, I respectfully disagree. I believe it was the no nonsense style of the Blue Star Ointment commercial. Jock Itch! Ring Worm! Tetter! Psorisis! Any thoughts? Otherwise, job well done.

Jade August 25, 2010, 2:12 pm

Well, this thread has been enlightening as well as a good laugh before my morning coffee. I was researching *teeter*, and google led me here. My grandmother always called it teeter. My experience was like Ann’s — watery bumps from playing in grass or garden. However, I’ve concluded that those bumps must come from some microscopic insect in the garden or the grass. I work on a ranch. Last night just as I was dropping off to sleep, I felt this laser-like sting on the top of my foot. I got up to examine the situation but found no critters. However, this morning, I have itching, watery bumps across the top of my foot. What is this mysterious thing?

MK June 13, 2011, 10:25 am

tetter has been a subject of MUCH hilarity in my family for many years. It WAS in fact the Blue Star Ointment commercial that listed, in THIS order, Jock Itch, Ringworm Psoriasis, Tetter.

Now I’ll be able to share this with my brother… the website, NOT the tetter..

I agree with the paramedics… a job well done!

Stringwarts July 13, 2011, 1:40 pm

I grew up in the deep South, and the old folks had a million different words for various skin discolorations/irritations/infections/eruptions, etc., amongst them were: scales, carbuncles, creeping crud, crawling crud, crotch rot, fish dick, eczema, liver spots, kidney spots, welts, weals, wens, trico, etc. ad nauseum; but never once heard of tetter until I started seeing the “Blue Star Ointment” ads in the early seventies. I still see the commercials in my dreams…”Blue Star ointment STOPS ITCHING FAST! Jock itch, ringworm, tetter even the heartbreak of psoriasis!” , “STOPS ITCHING FAST!”

brenda July 2, 2015, 9:07 am

In school in Balto. Md. in the fifties (grammar school)some of the boys had to wear a “tetter” cap ,obviously when they had some type of scalp condition(perhaps ringworm,etc.) some of the other children would make fun of them. I noticed that some of the boys would have residual scars on their scalps after they healed.

tetter teller June 2, 2017, 6:04 pm

OK IT IS 2017, SO IT HAS BEEN A WHILE SINCE ANYONE COMMENTED ON THE TETTER. I GET TETTER EVERY YEAR ON THE PALMS OF MY HANDS. MY PALMS START ITCHING CLOSE TO THE BOTTOM OF MY BIG THUMB. IT HURTS TO SCRATCH, THAT’S HOW I KNOW THE “TETTER” IS COMING ON. AFTER A FEW DAYS OF ITCHING THAT’S WHEN THE BLISTERS COME UP UNDER MY SKIN. AND THE ITCHING GETS WORSE, AND SO DOES THE PAIN. AFTER 3 OR 4 WEEKS LATER, MY SKIN STARTS TO DRY AND ITCH MORE, AND THEN IT STARTS PEELING OFF. MY MOM SAID MY GRANDMOTHER HAD IT, BUT SHE HAD IT ON THE BOTTOM OF HER FEET. SHE WOULD BE IN SO MUCH PAIN SHE COULD NOT WEAR SHOES, AND COULD BARELY WALK. I HAVE NEVER FOUND OUT FOR SURE WHAT CAUSES IT, NOR WHAT MIGHT PREVENT IT. I BELIEVE IT MAY BE HEREDITARY, NO PROOF, JUST MY OPINION. AT ANY RATE, JUST FYI……..IT IS VERY AGGRAVATING TO HAVE, AND PAINFUL. I AM ANXIOUS TO TRY TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHAT TYPE TETTER I MAY HAVE. SO I WILL BE RESEARCHING ALL OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS LISTED ABOVE, TO SEE IF I CAN FIGURE IT OUT.

P. KING December 11, 2018, 2:24 am

First and foremost…The product in the commercial was NOT Gold Bond. It was BLUE STAR OINTMENT! So, rub that on your Tetter! ?

What is this then?

The Daily Ping is the web's finest compendium of toilet information and Oreo™® research. Too much? Okay, okay, it's a daily opinion column written by two friends. Did we mention we've been doing this for over ten years? Tell me more!

Most Popular Pings