1813, medical Latin, literally "trembling delirium," introduced 1813 by British physician Thomas Sutton, for "that form of delirium which is rendered worse by bleeding, but improved by opium. By Rayer and subsequent writers it has been almost exclusively applied to delirium resulting from the abuse of alcohol" [Sydenham Society Lexicon of Medicine]. As synonyms, Farmer lists barrel-fever, gallon distemper, blue Johnnies, bottle ache, pink spiders, quart-mania snakes in the boots, triangles, uglies, etc.
delirium tremens delirium tre·mens (trē'mənz)
An acute, sometimes fatal episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal or abstinence from alcohol following habitual excessive drinking and that is characterized by sweating, trembling, anxiety, confusion, and hallucinations.
An acute, sometimes fatal episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal or abstinence from alcohol following habitual excessive drinking or an episode of heavy alcohol consumption. It is characterized by trembling, sweating, acute anxiety, confusion, and hallucinations.
Delirium tremens; the CLANKS: When Bix got the DT's Whiteman treated Bix to a drunk cure (1858+)