One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria.
boil, blister, sore, abscess, pustule, pimple, spot, wart, papule, wen, whitlow, cankerView synonyms
- ‘Furuncles are deep, tender nodules on hair-bearing areas that develop from the coalescence of several infected follicles, just as carbuncles are a collection of several furuncles.’
- ‘You see every carbuncle, every missing tooth, every stitch of ragged clothing.’
- ‘Usually the staphylococcal bacteria are not concentrated enough to do any harm, but sometimes they pass deeper into the skin to cause boils, abscesses, styes and carbuncles.’
- ‘Finally, it can be used for sores, carbuncles and skin ulcerations.’
- ‘They can also be made into an anti-inflammatory poultice and topically applied for boils and carbuncles.’
- ‘Nor did Dr Guillotin die on The National Razor; he died in 1814 of a rather less theatrical carbuncle on his shoulder.’
- ‘Those monstrous carbuncles on his once-handsome face testify to what may well have been a deliberate poisoning.’
- ‘This is particularly true of inflammatory conditions such as boils and carbuncles - painful, pus-filled bumps that form under your skin when bacteria infect one or more of your hair follicles.’
- ‘He added that people suffering from cutaneous anthrax would develop carbuncles on their skin within 10 days after first contact.’
- ‘While leaf paste is used externally against boils and carbuncles, the extract is considered a good remedy for recurring earache.’
- ‘It relieves menstrual pains, promotes menstruation, treats rheumatic aches and pains, and ripens carbuncles, sores and abscesses.’
- ‘The ripe fruit was used to provide external relief from carbuncles and painful boils and used internally to treat stomach ulcers.’
- ‘Common skin infections include cellulitis, erysipelas, impetigo, folliculitis, and furuncles and carbuncles.’
- ‘They began shortly after I had finished the concerto with an atrocious carbuncle resulting from an insect sting.’
- ‘It can be made into a salve or the tincture can be painted on boils, felons, carbuncles, abscesses, inflamed acne, cellulitis and other local inflammations.’
- ‘It stimulates the immune system, restores liver function weakened by alcohol abuse, helps repair damage from gallstones and helps skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, boils and carbuncles.’
- ‘However, one of the Everton lads has a carbuncle on his neck the size of a duck's egg.’
- ‘Furuncles and carbuncles occur as a follicular infection progresses deeper and extends out from the follicle.’
2A bright red gem, in particular a garnet cut en cabochon.
- ‘Behind the guard was another, but he seemed to be more of a mage, with flowing red robes and an oaken staff with a brilliant carbuncle sapphire in its top.’
- ‘But the buckle on her belt was the shape of a circle of thorns surrounding a bright red carbuncle, like the tattoo on the nape of her neck.’
- ‘In this world the most glorious of all possessions one could hope to have was that of the carbuncle.’
- ‘Stones of deep red color like glowing carbuncles are let into gilded woodwork, and Limoges enamels ornament the walls.’
Middle English (in carbuncle (sense 2)): from Old French charbuncle, from Latin carbunculus ‘small coal’, from carbo ‘coal, charcoal’.
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