ne·​cro·​sis nə-ˈkrō-səs How to pronounce necrosis (audio)
plural necroses nə-ˈkrō-ˌsēz How to pronounce necrosis (audio)
: usually localized death of living tissue

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Cells die naturally after a period of time, but may also die as a result of injuries, infections, or disease. Burns produce necrosis, and the bedsores experienced by immobile or bedridden patients are a form of necrosis. The dreaded condition known as gangrene, in which the dying tissue turns black or green, is another form. When untreated, the dying cells release substances that lead to the death of surrounding cells, so untreated necrosis can lead to death. Treatment usually requires the removal of the necrotic tissue, and in severe cases can even involve amputating a limb.

Examples of necrosis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Coming in contact with venomous jellyfish species may lead to necrosis of the skin, Maxfield notes. Caroline C. Boyle, USA TODAY, 8 July 2024 Typical deficiency symptoms are yellowing and necrosis of the leaf margins. Dr. Haiying Tao, Hartford Courant, 3 Feb. 2024 Then the man went to the hospital a few days ago with pain and the doctors discovered necrosis of the small intestine after having his colon removed awhile ago, Joe said. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, 23 Apr. 2024 Your hellebore may be infected with Helleborus net necrosis virus, also known as black death. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 8 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for necrosis 

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

Word History


Late Latin, from Greek nekrōsis, from nekroun to make dead, from nekros dead body

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of necrosis was in 1583

Dictionary Entries Near necrosis

Cite this Entry

“Necrosis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


ne·​cro·​sis nə-ˈkrō-səs, ne- How to pronounce necrosis (audio)
plural necroses -ˌsēz How to pronounce necrosis (audio)
: death of living tissue
specifically : death of a portion of tissue differentially affected by local injury (as loss of blood supply, corrosion, burning, or the local lesion of a disease) compare necrobiosis

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