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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

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday July 31, 2001 -- 3:31:29AM
You wouldn't want to get any Tetter-balls either, unless it's during gym class in elementary school.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Tuesday July 31, 2001 -- 10:54:23AM
"a vegetable parasitic disease" sounds funny and scary at the same time.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Tuesday July 31, 2001 -- 12:03:26PM
Isn't that Vietnamese New Year?

FROM: Scott
DATE: Tuesday July 31, 2001 -- 7:18:37PM
While I myself have no idea what exactly a "Tetter" is I once actually used Gold Bond
to alleviate the symptoms of the dreaded Jock Itch. It burned a lot.
After about 10 minutes, I found myself having to tear off my pants to splash water on my testicles.
One of the great things about Gold Bond is that the active ingredients are
menthol and camphor--both excellent for foreplay. Think carefully before
applying is the message I have for you.

By the way Ringworm is not a joke Ryan.
That is another story altogether.

DATE: Tuesday July 31, 2001 -- 7:45:08PM
there is no ping

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday July 31, 2001 -- 11:58:32PM
Scott -- The world will never be the same knowing that you have contributed to the Ping. We welcome you and your itchy jock with open arms.

FROM: Susan
DATE: Thursday November 1, 2001 -- 6:09:32PM
I too have often wondered about 'tetter', and until today have never known what the heck it was. Now that I have been schooled on tetter, I would like to learn aboout "the heartbreak of psoriasis." Why exactly does it cause heartbreak? Is it associated with failed relationships or what? Please help? My inquiring mind needs to know.

FROM: kib
DATE: Wednesday February 13, 2002 -- 12:45:40 am
it is a form of syphilis affecting the skin, particularly in men around their pizzle

FROM: Karlina
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 9:41:30 pm
wow, a page dedicated to what the heck Tetter is! For the last 6 years every single thing I would see on my skin my boyfriend would point at it and yell "EEWW You have Tetter!" He had no idea what Tetter was, so he figured everything that looked odd was in fact Tetter. We would crack each other up with it.

FROM: Jock Itch
DATE: Thursday August 14, 2003 -- 1:29:42 am
Gold Bond powder on the balls - an orgasmic experience. Try it yourself. For an even more otherwordly experience, try extra strength or the Gold Bond lotion. Mmmmmm.

FROM: christian
DATE: Wednesday October 8, 2003 -- 2:45:31 pm
I have always wondered what "tetter" was when the commercial aired. Soon afterward, I would diagnose anyone who walked by with "tetter" Whether it was bad hair, odors, halitosis, or anybody that just had an itch......CREEPY!

FROM: Frances
DATE: Monday February 2, 2004 -- 1:45:54 pm
My mother who will soon be 91 years of age, said that is why my thumb on my right hand is peeling, in layers, and just the top, from the first joint. It can be painful when it cracks open. Use of your thumb is numerous. I have not found anything to help. It comes and then goes of its own accord. She did not know and I don't know what causes it. I have none of the things previously mentioned in comments. However, I will try Gold Bond. I had not heard the advertisement. Am willing to try anything to help within reason.

FROM: Anne
DATE: Friday March 19, 2004 -- 10:51:28 am
Frances describes the tetter we knew in Texas long ago and the skin ailment we knew as "mesu mushi"--water worm- in Japan in the fifties

FROM: Skin Boy
DATE: Tuesday May 4, 2004 -- 2:46:56 pm
Ah the mystery of tetter has been solved!

FROM: Sunday
DATE: Friday June 4, 2004 -- 11:56:07 am
Hmm never thought I could get a word like that. Well, tetter anyway is not what I want to have!

FROM: Frank Duke
DATE: Friday June 4, 2004 -- 12:47:39 pm
My wife and I accidentally ran across this website and to our dismay, we have been shopping at a NC based grocery store, "Harris Tetter". We were scared to think about all the food we had ingested from a store named after an itchy jock.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday June 4, 2004 -- 1:38:45 pm
I believe you mean Harris Teeter.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Friday June 4, 2004 -- 4:54:25 pm
I thought I was the only one who actually looked up the word "tetter" after hearing it on the Gold Bond commercials. Now the next question, why the lady from Warren, Ohio? (I bet someone out there can remember her name) Who is she and why is the locaton relevant? Is there a tetter epidemic in Warren, Ohio?

FROM: tettered to tatters, peeved to the pizzle
DATE: Thursday August 5, 2004 -- 9:54:37 pm
OFF TOPIC, kinda:
Where will you be when your diarrhea comes back? Hopefully not shopping for Gold bond to treat your tetters! Seriously, I just last week developed shingles on my forehead. I went to Lowes and treated them with roofing nails. Treatment was painful, but they should stay put now!

FROM: cara-mel
DATE: Tuesday August 24, 2004 -- 5:45:01 pm
Tetter! Found this site while trying to find out what Toni Morrison meant when she referred to "the tetter heads goading him" -- I think she might actually have just meant really pimply ... diseased does not seem to fit (it's in SULA)

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:31:40 pm

FROM: xerby
DATE: Sunday February 13, 2005 -- 11:59:05 pm
Tetter is one of the conditions that were to be examined by by Aaron et al(priests) by G_d's direction through Moses after the Tabernacle was completed. The main concern was identifying leprosy(Hansen's Disease-no, not the singing group, although...). Leviticus 13.5, an interesting read.

DATE: Tuesday May 17, 2005 -- 7:49:37 pm
When I was young (back in the 1940's) and ran around in the grass barefooted, I assume I was allergic to something - grass or weed - and would get itchy watery bumps - itchy itchy - on my feet. My parents said it was tetter.

I haven't had it for years but am still allergic to some grass or weed and get itchy on the top of my feet but no watery bumps.

FROM: Tetter???
DATE: Sunday July 17, 2005 -- 9:07:36 pm
Still don't really get what tetter is.....

FROM: Mark Blaatzee
DATE: Tuesday November 22, 2005 -- 4:17:52 pm
I think it's actually the Blue Star Ointment commercials that talk about tetter.

FROM: Dame Stjernelys [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday November 27, 2005 -- 10:17:03 pm
Thank you! I have been wondering about this for YEARS!

FROM: gökhan [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday February 3, 2006 -- 9:28:54 am
nbr lan kavat

FROM: mskittie53
DATE: Tuesday April 4, 2006 -- 5:53:32 am
WOW! Was Just Trying To Find A Yard Game A Ball Atached To A Pole With A Rope That You Played With 2 Or More Players Wonder What Will Happen When I Search For Four Square Balls.

FROM: I love you
DATE: Tuesday April 11, 2006 -- 6:47:42 pm
Tetter is sweet. I like it.

FROM: christopher blank
DATE: Tuesday August 22, 2006 -- 12:59:14 am
Well if you can speak Vietnamese the word tetter is lang ben.

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.

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