ul·​cer | \ ˈəl-sər How to pronounce ulcer (audio) \

Definition of ulcer

1 : a break in skin or mucous membrane with loss of surface tissue, disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue, and often pus
2 : something that festers and corrupts like an open sore

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Other Words from ulcer

ulcer verb

Examples of ulcer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

NBC Universal Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made headlines and worsened political ulcers everywhere when she was hospitalized after falling and fracturing three ribs. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Watch 'Saturday Night Live's' "RBG Rap" Video Starring Pete Davidson, Chris Redd, and Kate McKinnon," 18 Nov. 2018 Some people experience soreness and red or purple swelling, while others get blisters or ulcers. Lindsay Kimble, PEOPLE.com, "Summer Has Arrived — Here's How to Avoid Flesh-Eating Bacteria & More Warm Weather Health Hazards," 5 June 2018 Many arrived dehydrated, with ulcers and calluses on their feet. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Caravan Heads North After Migrants Cross Into Mexico," 22 Oct. 2018 Rumor also underwent surgery to remove his left eye which was damaged due to trauma caused by an ulcer and to repair his right eye, which had a cataract. Fox News, "Abandoned dog with one eye undergoes incredible transformation," 26 Apr. 2018 The necropsy found an ulcer in the wall of the animal's stomach that ultimately led to peritonitis. Luis Andres Henao, Fox News, "Giraffe, rhino deaths raise alarm at former Buenos Aires zoo," 22 Aug. 2018 Both Talakoub and Sobel agree that HA is a good antibacterial agent on the skin to help heal wounds like burns and skin ulcers. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need To Know About Hyaluronic Acid," 14 Dec. 2018 But the report states that the skin lesions became deep necrotic ulcers, which means the cells in the living tissue along his hand and arm were dying. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "Raw Seafood Reportedly Led to Amputation for One Man," 30 Aug. 2018 The results, published online Thursday, May 24, 2018 by the journal Science, suggest a smaller version of the capsule could eventually be used in humans to find signs of ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or even colorectal cancer. Washington Post, "Gut check: Swallowed capsule could spot trouble, send alert," 26 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ulcer.' 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 ulcer

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ulcer

Middle English, from Latin ulcer-, ulcus; akin to Greek helkos wound

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Dictionary Entries near ulcer







ulcerative colitis

Statistics for ulcer

Last Updated

2 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for ulcer

The first known use of ulcer was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ulcer



English Language Learners Definition of ulcer

medical : a painful, sore area inside or outside the body


ul·​cer | \ ˈəl-sər How to pronounce ulcer (audio) \

Kids Definition of ulcer

: a slow-healing open painful sore (as of the lining of the stomach) in which tissue breaks down


ul·​cer | \ ˈəl-sər How to pronounce ulcer (audio) \

Medical Definition of ulcer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a break in skin or mucous membrane with loss of surface tissue, disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue, and often pus a stomach ulcer


ulcered; ulcering\ ˈəls-​(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce ulcering (audio) \

Medical Definition of ulcer (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on ulcer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ulcer

Spanish Central: Translation of ulcer

Nglish: Translation of ulcer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ulcer for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ulcer

Comments on ulcer

What made you want to look up ulcer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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