This euphemism for the standard-issue condom originated with British colonialists, who eyed their French rivals with suspicion and associated them with anything lewd or perverse. In this way, "French disease" became an idiom for the dreaded syphilis, and although the exact origins of this disease are uncertain, it seems more likely that it arrived in Europe with Columbus's returning ships ("American disease" might therefore have been a more apt term). The French return the compliment both by referring to syphilis as the "English disease," and by calling a rubber une capote anglaise ("English cloak").