ul·​cer | \ˈəl-sər \

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

Sleeping in your contacts can also give you eye ulcers. Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Entirely Preventable Eye Injuries Doctors See Way Too Often," 1 Nov. 2018 The illness can cause open sores (ulcers) anywhere in your digestive tract, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "10 Crohn’s Disease Symptoms, From Diarrhea to Beyond," 13 June 2018 Then the health problems kick in. Watery eyes and runny noses eventually give way to headaches and mouth ulcers. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "A Community Cracked Open by Fracking," 13 June 2018 The finding led to the current routine treatment of ulcers with a round of antibiotics. Alan Mozes, chicagotribune.com, "Tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder," 8 June 2018 The ulcer typically starts as a painless swelling, according to the World Health Organization, and may even look like a bug bite or pimple, BuzzFeed News reports. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "A Flesh-Eating Disease Is Spreading in Australia," 18 Apr. 2018 Patients at the Prescott center reported a lower ratio of falls, bedsores and ulcers than the VA average at nursing homes. Dennis Wagner, azcentral, "Prescott VA nursing home ranks among worst nationally, data show," 17 June 2018 Hours later, everyone agrees, Anderson collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where doctors rushed him into surgery and discovered a perforated ulcer. NBC News, "Feds admit liability for death of Alabama inmate who died of ulcer," 4 June 2018 Rajab has been hospitalized several times during his most-recent incarceration over heart problems and ulcers. Washington Post, "Bahrain sentences prominent activist to 5 years in prison," 21 Feb. 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

12 Nov 2018

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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 \

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of ulcer (Entry 2 of 2)

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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