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