Definition of chilblain
: an inflammatory swelling or sore caused by exposure (as of the feet or hands) to cold
chilblain was our Word of the Day on 06/10/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Given that chilblains are caused by exposure to cold conditions, it may not surprise you to know that the first element of this word comes from the noun "chill." The second element, "blain," may be less familiar, though the word blain ("an inflammatory swelling or sore") is still used by English speakers. Both elements of "chilblain" have Anglo-Saxon roots. "Chill" comes from Old English "ciele" ("frost" or "chill"), which is akin to "ceald," an Old English ancestor of the modern "cold." "Blain" comes from Old English "blegen" (same meaning as "blain"). These two words were first brought together (as the compound "chyll blayne") in the 1500s.
Origin and Etymology of chilblain
First Known Use: 1547See Words from the same year
CHILBLAIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of chilblain for English Language Learners
: a red and painful swollen area on the feet, hands, etc., that is caused by being exposed to cold
CHILBLAIN Defined for Kids
Definition of chilblain for Students
: a red swollen itchy condition caused by cold that occurs especially on the hands or feet
Medical Definition of chilblain
: an inflammatory swelling or sore caused by exposure (as of the feet or hands) to cold—called also pernio
Seen and Heard
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