ab·​scess | \ ˈab-ˌses How to pronounce abscess (audio) \
plural abscesses\ ˈab-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce abscesses (audio) , -​ˌsēz ; -​sə-​səz How to pronounce abscesses (audio) \

Definition of abscess

: a localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from abscess

abscessed \ ˈab-​ˌsest How to pronounce abscessed (audio) \ adjective
an abscessed tooth [=an infected tooth that has caused an abscess in the gum]

Examples of abscess in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Not only can this cause painful abscesses, but the relentless spread of the cactus here is attracting more elephants closer to human settlements where the prickly pests grow, causing a spike in human-elephant conflict. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, "Kenyan 'devil's cactus' is spreading out of control -- but tech is fighting back," 9 Dec. 2019 By the early 2010s, an uptick in emergency room reports of severe deep-tissue abscesses in patients’ arms and legs, common needle injection points, were the first indications that drug users were reaching for syringes. Washington Post, "Unraveling an HIV cluster," 3 Nov. 2019 The deer was in poor condition with an abscess in its jaw. Matt Wyatt, Houston Chronicle, "Chronic wasting disease discovered in Val Verde County," 19 Dec. 2019 In addition to being severely malnourished and dehydrated, the female feline had an infected abscess on a front leg joint. Kathleen Christiansen, orlandosentinel.com, "Adopt a Pet: Magnolia from Catapalooza. ‘She loves to cuddle, sit in your lap and snuggle’," 25 Nov. 2019 Further imaging of his abdomen and pelvis revealed a large hernia containing part of his colon, as well as a huge abscess, considerable tissue damage, and fluid collection. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Man has massive, rotting scrotum removed after avoiding doctors for decades," 18 Oct. 2019 The embedded tooth could quickly become an abscess that might make eating food painful. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, "The Veterinarian Will See Your Dinosaur Now," 4 Oct. 2019 Surgery for an abscess with a deep infection, for example, can be better than an antibiotic in some cases, Patel says There are also a number of new treatment options being developed still in their early stages. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Drug-resistant superbugs are killing thousands of Americans. Here's what you need to know about them," 16 Nov. 2019 One had scabies, broken teeth, an abscess and scars from the snare that had captured it. Helen Sullivan, New York Times, "In Lebanon, the Hyena’s Main Fear Is Fear Itself," 30 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abscess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of abscess

1574, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abscess

borrowed from Latin abscessus "departure, withdrawal, congestion, abscess," from abscēdere "to go away, withdraw, form an abscess" (from abs-, variant of ab- ab- before c- and t- + cēdere "to go, withdraw, move away") + -tus, suffix of verbal nouns — more at cede

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abscess

Time Traveler for abscess

Time Traveler

The first known use of abscess was in 1574

See more words from the same year

Statistics for abscess

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abscess.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abscess. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for abscess


ab·​scess | \ ˈab-ˌses How to pronounce abscess (audio) \

Kids Definition of abscess

: a collection of pus with swollen and red tissue around it

Other Words from abscess

abscessed \ -​ˌsest \ adjective


ab·​scess | \ ˈab-ˌses How to pronounce abscess (audio) \
plural abscesses\ ˈab-​səs-​ˌēz How to pronounce abscesses (audio) , -​ˌses-​ How to pronounce abscesses (audio) , -​əz \

Medical Definition of abscess

: a localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue

Other Words from abscess

abscessed \ -​ˌsest How to pronounce abscessed (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on abscess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abscess

Spanish Central: Translation of abscess

Nglish: Translation of abscess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abscess for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about abscess

Comments on abscess

What made you want to look up abscess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!