• synonyms


noun Pathology.
  1. primary tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands, especially those of the neck.
Show More

Origin of scrofula

1350–1400; Middle English (plural) < Late Latin scrōfulae (Latin scrōf(a) sow + -ulae (plural) -ule), from the belief that breeding sows were susceptible
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scrofula

Historical Examples

  • Amongst them were a couple of tutors, with their pupils who had come to be cured of scrofula.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • Consumption and Scrofula, though similar, are not the same disease.

  • Scrofula, in fact, seems to have been the cause of her death.

    Pagan and Christian Rome

    Rodolfo Lanciani

  • On their qualities—as 'Scrophularia' from its (quite uncertified) use in scrofula.

  • In olden time, scrofula, or the 'king's evil', was cured by the touch of the king.

    The Physical Life of Woman:

    Dr. George H Napheys

British Dictionary definitions for scrofula


  1. pathol (no longer in technical use) tuberculosis of the lymphatic glandsAlso called (formerly): the king's evil
Show More

Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin, from Late Latin scrōfulae swollen glands in the neck, literally: little sows (sows were thought to be particularly prone to the disease), from Latin scrōfa sow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for scrofula


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."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scrofula in Medicine


  1. 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.struma
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.