Definition of carbuncle in English:



  • 1A severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria.

    • ‘Finally, it can be used for sores, carbuncles and skin ulcerations.’
    • ‘However, one of the Everton lads has a carbuncle on his neck the size of a duck's egg.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The ripe fruit was used to provide external relief from carbuncles and painful boils and used internally to treat stomach ulcers.’
    • ‘While leaf paste is used externally against boils and carbuncles, the extract is considered a good remedy for recurring earache.’
    • ‘Those monstrous carbuncles on his once-handsome face testify to what may well have been a deliberate poisoning.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You see every carbuncle, every missing tooth, every stitch of ragged clothing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It relieves menstrual pains, promotes menstruation, treats rheumatic aches and pains, and ripens carbuncles, sores and abscesses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Furuncles and carbuncles occur as a follicular infection progresses deeper and extends out from the follicle.’
    boil, blister, sore, abscess, pustule, pimple, spot, wart, papule, wen, whitlow, canker
    swelling, lump, growth, outgrowth, eruption, infection, inflammation
    vesication, furuncle
    View synonyms
  • 2A bright red gem, in particular a garnet cut en cabochon.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


Middle English (in carbuncle): from Old French charbuncle, from Latin carbunculus small coal, from carbo coal, charcoal.