king's evil

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king's e·vil

(kingz ē'vĭl),
Historic term for cervical tuberculous lymphadenitis commonly scrofula, which was thought to be curable with the king's touch. Samuel Johnson was afflicted with the disease.

King's evil

The historic term for tuberculosis of the tonsillar lymph nodes in the neck (scrofula). As late as the beginning of the 18th century it was believed that scrofula could be cured by a touch from the King. The great lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson was touched for the King's evil by the queen but, being a lifelong sceptic in such matters, enjoyed no advantage.
References in periodicals archive ?
But as they start writing The King's Evil, their old comic characters from the fictional village of Royston Vasey - Tubbs and Edward, Herr Lipp and Papa Lazarou - rebel against being killed off.
But The League of Gentlemen, the comedy writers who dreamt them up, have already started creating their latest work, a 17th-century demonic drama called The King's Evil.
The discussion of the King's evil was cut, as often, and Lady Macbeth's four difficult lines of mild rebuke after "My royal lord, / You do not give the cheer" early in the banquet scene, were cut, as often.
The vehemence of attacks on the king's evil counsellors was matched by that of defences of his sacred character and unlimited power.
They made use of the iconography of sacred kingship - in exile, "James III" continued to vouch for the King's Evil - and in their songs they poured contempt on the Hanoverians: "It's Geordie he came up to the town Wi' a bunch o' turnips on his crown," the turnip being a symbol of all that was vulgar and ridiculous in the Electorate.
These Accounts also make frequent mention of the thousands of 'Healing Ribbands' (ribbons with small gold medals attached) that Charles bought with his own money to put round the necks of the patients he 'touched for' the King's Evil or scrofula.