1

canker

play
noun can·ker \ ˈkaŋ-kər \

Definition of canker

1 a (1) :an erosive or spreading sore
(2) :an area of necrosis in a plant; also :a plant disease characterized by cankers
  • Citrus canker is caused by bacteria.
b :any of various disorders of animals marked by chronic inflammatory changes
2 archaic :a caterpillar destructive to plants
3 chiefly dialectal :rust 1
4 :a source of corruption or debasement
  • suspicion is a canker that … will consume and waste all love
  • —R. Sibbes
5 chiefly dialectal :dog rose

cankerous

play \ˈkaŋ-k(ə-)rəs\ adjective

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Recent Examples of canker from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of canker

Middle English, from Anglo-French cancre, chancre, from Latin cancer crab, cancer


2

canker

verb

Definition of canker

cankered; cankering play \ˈkaŋ-k(ə-)riŋ\
transitive verb
1 obsolete :to infect with a spreading sore
2 :to corrupt the spirit of
  • a relationship cankered by jealousy
intransitive verb
1 :to become infested with canker
2 :to become corrupted

Examples of canker in a Sentence

  1. such shameless ambulance chasing cankers the legal profession

Did You Know?

Canker is commonly known as the name for a type of spreading sore that eats into the tissue-a use that obviously furnished the verb with both its medical and figurative senses. The word ultimately traces back to Latin cancer, which can refer to a crab or a malignant tumor. The Greeks have a similar word, "karkinos," and according to the Ancient Greek physician Galen the tumor got its name from the way the swollen veins surrounding the affected part resembled a crab's limbs. "Cancer" was adopted into Old English, becoming "canker" in Middle English and eventually shifting in meaning to become a general term for ulcerations. "Cancer" itself was reintroduced to English later, first as a zodiacal word and then as a medical term.

Origin and Etymology of canker


CANKER Defined for English Language Learners

canker

play
noun

Definition of canker for English Language Learners

  • : something that causes bad things to happen

  • : any of various plant diseases


Medical Dictionary

canker

play
noun can·ker \ ˈkaŋ-kər \

medical Definition of canker

1 a (1) :an erosive or spreading sore
(2) obsolete :gangrene
2 a :a chronic inflammation of the ear in dogs, cats, or rabbits; especially :a localized form of mange
b :a chronic and progressive inflammation of the deep horn-producing tissues of the frog and sole of the hooves of horses resulting in softening and destruction of the horny layers


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