Ichor. You want it to taste like liquor, but it doesn’t. It’s just icky. Pronouncing the term aloud is enough to make most people reach for some hand sanitizer and drink a glop of that instead.
It’s a weird word, so it’s no surprise that you’ll stumble over it in horror stories everywhere. “Ichor” is used quite a bit by HP Lovecraft and others of his ilk to describe oozy things like the slime that dribbles from the dread nostrils of the Great Old Ones (especially that nasular monstrosity known only as “Achoolu”). It’s a fun word to say, since its pustular resonance is right there, phlegmy in the back of your throat when you pronounce it. But I have to agree that the term is a bit hackneyed in horror fiction, as Ursula K. LeGuin suggested when she once wrote: “You know ichor. It oozes out of several tentacles, and beslimes tessellated pavements, and bespatters bejeweled courtiers, and bores the bejesus out of everybody.” Everybody except role playing gamers, anyway.
The term actually comes to us from Greek mythology. Ichor is not just some nasal nasty; it also refers to the golden blood of the gods — the plasma present in ambrosia, giving it that rich potency. Some mythologists compare it to a mineral, claiming it grants immortality; most treat it as so strong that it is poisonous to humans, despite its allure.
It is perhaps this mixed message — potent yet poisonous — that leads to the word’s strangely alternative employment in the medical field. Merriam Webster’s Medical Dictionary informs us that “ichor” is an anachronism in older medical journals, used in reference to a foul-smelling watery, often blood-tinged discharge from a wound or ulcer. Some use it in reference to green bile. Regardless, this mucopurulent discharge — this infectious gleet — is the sicker ichor rupture.
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