canker

noun
can·​ker | \ˈkaŋ-kər \

Definition of canker 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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 sense 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

canker

verb
cankered; cankering\ˈkaŋ-​k(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of canker (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from canker

Noun

cankerous \ˈkaŋ-​k(ə-​)rəs \ adjective

Did You Know?

Verb

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.

Examples of canker in a Sentence

Verb

such shameless ambulance chasing cankers the legal profession

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On sycamores, the disease often infects branches, causing girdling cankers and dieback. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Fungal diseases may be cause of brown spots on tree leaves," 26 June 2018 Any trees that are affected year after year or develop cankers will be weakened. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Fungal diseases may be cause of brown spots on tree leaves," 26 June 2018 Cytospora canker is a disease of mature spruce trees, usually older than 15 years. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Have a dying spruce tree? Fungus may be the culprit," 23 May 2018 The cankers are circular, discolored areas on the bark. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Grow Healthy Food By Identifying + Treating These Common Plant Diseases," 21 July 2015 When entire lower branches on a spruce have died, the problem is more likely to be cytospora canker, Yiesla said. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Have a dying spruce tree? Fungus may be the culprit," 23 May 2018 To control, plant resistant trees and cut out branches or trees with cankers. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Grow Healthy Food By Identifying + Treating These Common Plant Diseases," 21 July 2015 Purple-leafed plums only live five to six years before peach tree borers and bacterial stem canker invade and kill them. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "Browning spider plant could be fertilizer scorched," 25 May 2018 There is no treatment for cytospora canker, according to Yiesla. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Have a dying spruce tree? Fungus may be the culprit," 23 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of canker

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for canker

Noun

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

Verb

see canker entry 1

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Time Traveler for canker

The first known use of canker was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for canker

canker

noun

English Language Learners Definition of canker

: something that causes bad things to happen

: any of various plant diseases

canker

noun
can·​ker | \ˈkaŋ-kər \

Medical Definition of canker 

1a(1) : an erosive or spreading sore

(2) obsolete : gangrene

b : canker sore

2a : 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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More from Merriam-Webster on canker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canker

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for canker

Spanish Central: Translation of canker

Nglish: Translation of canker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about canker

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