One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A wattle of a bird such as a turkeycock.
comb, plume, tuft, topknot, maneView synonyms
- ‘Adding to what Dominique just said, while feathers are by far the predominant outgrowths there are other bizarre protrusions, and I am not talking about the wattles or the caruncles.’
- ‘You can even tell when a turkey isn't feeling well by looking at their caruncle or wattle because they become very pale and colorless.’
2The red prominence at the inner corner of the eye.
- ‘Systemic effects from eye drops can be reduced by occlusion (finger pressed on the caruncle, which is felt as a lump at the inner corner of the eye) or shutting the eyes for several minutes after putting in the drops.’
A coloured waxy or oily outgrowth from a seed near the micropyle, attractive to ants which aid the seed's dispersal.
- ‘The ant stopped to examine the gorse seeds, it quickly found the bright orange caruncle and immediately began to bite and gnaw it.’
- ‘The seed of this plant has a caruncle that may be involved in seed-ant interactions.’
Late 16th century: obsolete French, from Latin caruncula, from caro, carn- ‘flesh’.
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