Definition of cancer
- I'm a Taurus, but my best friend is a Cancer.
- the cancer of hidden resentment
- —Irish Digest
He was diagnosed with cancer.
She learned that she has cancer.
Eating certain foods may help reduce the risk of cancer.
Advanced cancers are more difficult to treat.
I'm a Taurus, but my best friend is a Cancer.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cancer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Latin word cancer, meaning “crab,” was also given as a name to several diseases. One of the diseases was the abnormal, spreading mass of tissue we call a tumor. A possible explanation for this extended use of cancer is that the Romans thought some tumors looked like many-legged crabs. A French descendant of this Latin word was borrowed into English as canker. It is now applied to several plant and animal disorders. In the 14th century the Latin word cancer in the sense of “tumor” was borrowed directly into English, giving us our modern spelling and sense.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
: a serious disease caused by cells that are not normal and that can spread to one or many parts of the body
: something bad or dangerous that causes other bad things to happen
Cancer : the fourth sign of the zodiac that comes between Gemini and Leo and has a crab as its symbol
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