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.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

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.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse is incredibly self-indulgent and the introduction of the third parallel universe ( the 17th century pomp and pageantry of The King's Evil ( is one creative stretch too far, begging unflattering comparisons with Monty Python.
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.
WHAT was the ailment known as the King's Evil? - T.
For scrofula was, in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Britain and France, the "King's Evil" and was believed curable by the king's touch.
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.
What does it do: Its generic name is derived from scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands in the neck), otherwise known as The King's Evil, so-called because it was believed that the affliction could be cured by the laying on of hands by the ruling monarch.
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.
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.
'It heals all foul scabs and ulcers, scald heads, the King's evil, scales, bones by extracting and cleaning the humours that cause the malady.' In one case, a man from Westmoreland came and found relief from a serious dog bite.
The King's Evil. By Edward Marston (Headline, pounds 5.99).