scrofulous

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

scrofula +‎ -ous.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

scrofulous (comparative more scrofulous, superlative most scrofulous)

  1. (pathology, dated) Of, related to, or suffering from scrofula (form of tuberculosis tending to cause enlarged lymph nodes and skin inflammation).
    • 1757, John Rutty, A Methodical Synopsis of Mineral Waters, Comprehending the Most Celebrated Medicinal Waters, both Cold and Hot, of Great-Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy, and several other Parts of the World, London: Printed for William Johnston, at the Golden Ball in St. Paul's Church-Yard, OCLC 745173148, page 494:
      On the ſurface of the water there floats a liquid bitumen, although it be every day ſcummed off, as it doth on the lake Aſphaltites in Judæa: The Inhabitants uſe it as pitch: it is alſo found to be an excellent vulnerary, and good in curing old cacoethic and ſcrophulous ulcers.
    • 1794 August, Matthew Baillie, “Art. VII. The Morbid Anatomy of Some of the Most Important Parts of the Human Body. By Matthew Baillie, M.D. F.R.S. Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and Physician of St. George’s Hospital. 8vo. pp. 314. 6s. Boards. Johnson. 1793. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume XIV, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, in Pall Mall, OCLC 901376714, page 407:
      The proſtate gland is ſometimes ſcrofulous. I have ſeen, in cutting into it, preciſely the ſame white curdly matter, which takes place in a ſcrofulous abſorbent gland. In ſqueezing it alſo, I have forced from out from its ducts a ſcrofulous pus.
  2. (figuratively) Having an unkempt, unhealthy appearance.
    • 1919, W[illiam] Somerset Maugham, chapter L, in The Moon and Sixpence. A Novel, London: William Heinemann, OCLC 563525353; The Moon and Sixpence, 1st American edition, [New York, N.Y.]: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers by arrangement with George H. Doran Company, 1919, OCLC 365836, page 264:
      Poor devil, he's gone to the dogs altogether. He's got some twopenny-halfpenny job in the medical at Alexandria—sanitary officer or something like that. I'm told he lives with an ugly old Greek woman and has half a dozen scrofulous kids.
    • 2007, John Walsh, chapter 1, in Sunday at the Cross Bones, London: Fourth Estate, →ISBN:
      [] I wrestle with the events of the last two years, picking over the past, looking for the reasons why I find myself here, gazing across a multitude of day trippers, sunburned holidaymakers, squalling children, ignorant matrons perusing their puzzle magazines, scrofulous bank clerks surreptitiously kissing their new girlfriends on the lips as if amazed at their daring.
  3. (figuratively) Morally degenerate; corrupt.
    a scrofulous politician
    • 2015 July 15, Charles C. W. Cooke, “No More Free Speech on Reddit: The News-and-opinion Website’s Founder may End Up Destroying the Site in order to ‘Save’ It”, in National Review[1], New York, N.Y.: National Review, Inc., ISSN 0028-0038, OCLC 1004552754, archived from the original on 6 May 2018:
      It is time, [Steve] Huffman concluded, for the “reprehensible” denizens of the Internet’s scrofulous “dark side” to find another home.
    • 2016 November 10, Matthew Kassel, “There Has Never Before been a President-elect Like Donald Trump: In Many Ways, He is Unlike Any Other Man who has Held the Office before Him”, in Town & Country[2], New York, N.Y.: Hearst Corp., ISSN 0040-9952, OCLC 51785002, archived from the original on 21 July 2017:
      Perhaps the oddest thing about [Donald] Trump's run was how little effect the media's documentation of his scrofulous past had on his image.
    • 2017 September 10, Kevin McKenna, “If only life in Scotland were as lovely as the views”, in The Guardian[3], London, archived from the original on 2 May 2018:
      Whenever pride is expressed in anything Scottish these days, a flotilla of prominent pro-UK supporters is always on hand to sniff out any signs of scrofulous nationalism.

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