11 Trending Words of 2014
c.1400, scrophulas (plural) from Late Latin scrofulæ (plural) "swelling of the glands of the neck," literally "little pigs," from Latin scrofa "breeding sow" (see screw (n.)). The connection may be because the glands associated with the disease resemble the body of a sow or some part of it, or because pigs were thought to be prone to it. Cf. Greek khoirades (plural) "scrofula," related to khoiros "young pig."
scrofula scrof·u·la (skrŏf'yə-lə)
A form of tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes, especially of the neck, that is most common in children and is usually spread by unpasteurized milk from infected cows. Also called struma.
formerly tuberculosis, the terms "scrofulous," "strumous," and "tuberculous" being nearly interchangeable in the past, before the real nature of the disease was understood. The particular characteristics associated with scrofula have varied at different periods, but essentially what was meant was tuberculosis of the bones and lymphatic glands, especially in children. It is in this sense that the word survives. The old English popular name was "king's evil," so called from the belief that the sovereign's touch could effect a cure. See also tuberculosis.