car·​un·​cle ˈker-ˌəŋ-kəl How to pronounce caruncle (audio)
kə-ˈrəŋ- How to pronounce caruncle (audio)
: a naked fleshy outgrowth (such as a bird's wattle)
: an outgrowth on a seed adjacent to the micropyle (see micropyle sense 1)

Examples of caruncle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Center the fiber-optic front barrel bead (or crosshair or dot of an optic) just above the major caruncles, those fleshy, gaudy, beautiful red bubbles on the base of a gobbler’s neck. Michael Hanback, Outdoor Life, 20 Apr. 2020 Here’s another fun fact: Male turkeys, called toms, have bald, featherless heads with all sorts of dangling skin flaps and knobs known as the snood, the wattle and caruncles. Jason Bittel, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2019 In the developing embryo, the beak originates near the caruncle and then gradually expands backward. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2017 Beaked groups like birds and turtles have caruncles, but snakes and nearly all lizards do not. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caruncle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


obsolete French caruncule, from Latin caruncula little piece of flesh, diminutive of caro flesh — more at carnal

First Known Use

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of caruncle was in 1615

Dictionary Entries Near caruncle

Cite this Entry

“Caruncle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


car·​un·​cle ˈkar-əŋ-kəl How to pronounce caruncle (audio) kə-ˈrəŋ- How to pronounce caruncle (audio)
: a small fleshy growth
specifically : a reddish growth situated at the urethral meatus in women and causing pain and bleeding see lacrimal caruncle

More from Merriam-Webster on caruncle

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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