Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pox n.1

[the SE pocks or eruptive pustules on the skin that are a sign of syphilis; SE pox is smallpox; syphilis was also called the great or grand pox, to distinguish it from ‘lesser’ venereal diseases]

1. [16C+] syphilis.

2. [17C–18C] constr. with the, a synon. for fuck/hell etc, esp. in interrog. phrs., e.g. who the..., how the...

3. [17C+] any venereal disease.

In derivatives

poxed (adj.) (also poxed-up)

[17C+] venereally diseased, esp. suffering from syphilis; also used fig.

In compounds

pox doctor (n.)

[mid-18C; 1930s+] a doctor specializing in venereal diseases.

pox-doctor’s clerk (n.)

see separate entry.

pox-eaten (adj.) (also pox-rotten)

[1930s–50s] a general negative.

poxhead (n.)

see separate entry.

pox hospital (n.)

[1930s–40s] a hospital or clinic specializing in sexually transmitted diseases .

In phrases

In exclamations

pox on —! (also pox of —! pox to —! pox upon —!) [20C+ use is historical or ironic]

[late 16C–early 19C] a general oath.

pox take —!

[17C–18C] a general oath of dismissal.

what a pox! (also how a pox! with a pox!)

[late 16C+] a general excl. of annoyance, irritation; also as an interrog.