A contagious skin disease characterized by ring-shaped patches. The word occurs in the New World Translation at Leviticus 21:20 and 22:22, translating the Hebrew word yal·leʹpheth. Caused by fungi, ringworm is found on animals and man. In humans ringworm may attack not only the body’s hairy parts, especially the scalp of children and the beard of adults, but also the nonhairy sections of the body. The latter form develops as a round, rose-colored spot usually having very small blisters around its edge. As the patch expands, the center clears up, giving the afflicted area its usual ringlike appearance.
Though yal·leʹpheth has been rendered by other skin-disease terms, Jewish tradition connects it with Egyptian herpes or lichen. For yal·leʹpheth the Greek Septuagint translators used lei·khenʹ, which can refer to ringworm. Thus Hebrew scholars L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner suggest “ringworm, herpes.”—Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, p. 383.