noun[mass noun] archaic
Scrofula, formerly held to be curable by the royal touch.
- When 3 years old he was brought to London to be touched for the king's evil by Queen Anne; the illness seriously affected his sight, but he was from an early age an avid reader.
- He believed that he possessed semi-divine powers and attributes (no king touched so much for the king's evil, that class of unpleasant glandular and scrofulous disorders that kings were reputed to be able to cure).
- The disappearance of touching for the king's evil was probably just as much a result of an increasing understanding of science and medicine as it was of the decreasing God-like reverence for monarchs.
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