scroful-, scrofulo- +

(Latin: breeding sow)

In the extended sense, it pertains to scrofula, a tubercular swelling, especially of the lymphatic glands [so named, perhaps, because the swelling resembles the shape of a sow or a female hog]).

1. A form of tuberculosis characterized by swellings of the lymphatic glands.
2. Tuberculosis of the lymph glands, especially of the neck.

If untreated, the glands burst through the skin to form running sores.

3. Etymology: from Late Latin scrofulæ, "swelling of the glands of the neck"; literally, "little pigs"; from Latin scrofa, "breeding sow".

The connection may be because the glands associated with the disease resemble the body of a sow, or because pigs were thought to be prone to the disease.

Historical background

This is a traditional term for tuberculosis of the lymph glands in the neck. It was formerly known in England as "king's evil", from the belief that the touch of the sovereign could effect a cure.

The superstition can be traced back to the time of Edward the Confessor in England, and to a much earlier period in France.

The disease, which is treated with antituberculous drugs, is now rare in developed societies and usually affects young children.

—Based on information from
Black's Medical Dictionary; 41st Edition;
The Scarecrow Press, Inc.; Oxford, England; 2006, page 635.
scrofuloderma, scrofuloderm
1. Any of a variety of skin diseases; in particular, a form of tuberculosis, affecting the lymph nodes of the neck.
2. A tuberculous or non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection affecting children and young adults, representing direct extension of tuberculosis into the skin from underlying structures; such as, lymph nodes (especially the cervical), bone or lung or by contact exposure to tuberculosis.

It is manifested by the development of painless subcutaneous swellings that evolve into cold abscesses, multiple ulcers, and draining sinus tracts.

1. Run-down, diseased, or shabby in appearance.
2. Morally corrupt, tainted, and degenerate.
3. Resembling, of the nature of, or affected with scrofula.
scrofulous abscess
A chronic abscess from infected bone or lymph nodes.