king evil

king's evil

noun
scrofula: so called because it was supposed to be curable by the touch of the reigning sovereign.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English kynges evel

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World English Dictionary
king's evil
 
n
pathol the king's evil a former name for scrofula
 
[C14: from the belief that the king's touch would heal scrofula]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

king's evil
"scrofula," late 14c., translates M.L. regius morbus; so called because the kings of England and France claimed to heal it by their touch. In England, the custom dates from Edward the Confessor and was continued through the Stuarts (Charles II touched 90,798 sufferers) but was ended by the Hanoverians
(1714).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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