from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of tuberculosis, most common in children, tending to cause enlarged and degenerated lymph glands, especially in the neck, and often chronic, intractable skin inflammation as well.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A constitutional disease, generally hereditary, especially manifested by chronic enlargement and cheesy degeneration of the lymphatic glands, particularly those of the neck, and marked by a tendency to the development of chronic intractable inflammations of the skin, mucous membrane, bones, joints, and other parts, and by a diminution in the power of resistance to disease or injury and the capacity for recovery. Scrofula is now generally held to be tuberculous in character, and may develop into general or local tuberculosis (consumption).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A constitutional disorder, especially in the young, expressing itself in lymphadenitis, especially glandular swellings in the neck, with a tendency to cheesy degeneration, inflammations of various joints, mucous membranes, and other structures, together with other less distinct indications of feeble health.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a form of tuberculosis characterized by swellings of the lymphatic glands


Middle English scrophula, from Late Latin scrōfulae, swelling of the glands, diminutive of Latin scrōfa, sow; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin diminutive of scrofa: a breeding sow, because swine were supposed to be subject to the complaint; or by fanciful comparison of the glandular swellings to little pigs. (Wiktionary)


  • Her children have diseases of the eyes, skin, glands and bones, and the doctor will apply the term scrofula, when the result is nothing more or less than inherited syphilis.

    Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners A Complete Sexual Science and a Guide to Purity and Physical Manhood, Advice To Maiden, Wife, And Mother, Love, Courtship, And Marriage

  • Lymphatic tuberculosis, TB of the lymph glands, was called scrofula, from the Latin word for “piglet,” evoking the rather morbid image of a chain of swollen glands arranged in a line like a group of suckling pigs.

    The Emperor of All Maladies

  • If gondola were a disease, and if a scrofula were a beautiful boat peculiar to a beautiful city, the effect of each word would be exactly the reverse of what it is.

    Yet Again

  • Prof. Gross says: 'What is called scrofula, struma, or tuberculosis, is, I have long been satisfied from careful observation of the sick and a profound study of the literature of the subject, in a great majority of cases, if not invariably, merely syphilis in its more remote stages.'

    Plain Facts for Old and Young

  • Prof. Gross says: ` What is called scrofula, struma, or tuberculosis, is, I have long been satisfied from careful observation of the sick and a profound study of the literature of the subject, in a great majority of cases, if not invariably, merely syphilis in its more remote stages. '

    Plain facts for old and young : embracing the natural history and hygiene of organic life.

  • There is a certain disease called the scrofula, which in former times had the name of the King's Evil.

    Charles I Makers of History

  • The oil is used for skin diseases such as scrofula, indolent ulcers, and ringworm.

    7 Medicinals

  • But the gift somewhere dropped out of the line of succession: the later sovereigns of England have not been tactual healers, and the disease once honored with the name "king's evil" now bears the humbler one of "scrofula," from _scrofa_, a sow.

    INTERNET WIRETAP: The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce (1993 Edition)

  • If girls suffer from irregularities in this respect, the causes can generally be found either in some affection threatening the general health, such as scrofula, consumption, green sickness, etc., or else in their mode of life.

    The Physical Life of Woman: Advice to the Maiden, Wife and Mother

  • And when within a few years it was further demonstrated in rapid succession that most of the diseases of the spine in children, of the group of symptoms associated with enlarged glands or kernels in the neck and known as "scrofula" or struma, most cases of hip-joint disease, of white swelling of the knee, a large percentage of chronic ulcerations of the skin known as _lupus_, a common form of fatal bowel disease in children, and many instances of peritonitis in adults, together with fully half of the fatal cases of convulsions in children, were due to the activity of this same ubiquitous bacillus, it looked as if the enemy were hopelessly entrenched against attack.

    Preventable Diseases


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  • There were kings who could rub the heads of serfs and cure scrofula - the origin of "the royal touch."
    Off the Road by Jack Hitt p93

    January 3, 2012

  • ""Somewhere in Scotland," he said bitterly. "And meanwhile, Gilchrist is sending Kivrin into a century which is clearly a ten, a century which had scrofula and the plague and burned Joan of Arc at the stake.""
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, p 5

    May 23, 2010