Definition of chilblain in US English:



  • A painful, itching swelling on the skin, typically on a hand or foot, caused by poor circulation in the skin when exposed to cold.

    • ‘Many people suffered badly with chilblains on their feet, hands or ears, but no uniform regulations were bent to allow for more protection for the sensitive areas which itched and caused a lot of discomfort.’
    • ‘In addition, because the cold is more restrictive to your blood supply, you can suffer chilblains and damage to tissue.’
    • ‘As a result of these walks in the cold mornings I got bad chilblains on my hands.’
    • ‘Most went barefoot, and some suffered chilblains.’
    • ‘To prevent chilblains, avoid exposure to cold.’
    • ‘He carried on working to the end - dressed in the high starched collar and cravat of his youth and dispensing old-fashioned remedies, medicines, and cures which he prepared himself, for ailments as diverse as bronchitis and chilblains.’
    • ‘It is used as a substitute for tar and as an external application for rheumatism or chilblains.’
    • ‘Elderly people, whose circulation is less efficient than it used to be, people who don't take enough exercise, and those suffering from anaemia, are also susceptible to chilblains.’
    • ‘A few years back I ignored the need for winter socks and got a mild attack of chilblains, the first I've had since I was a child and, if I can so engineer it, the last I shall ever have.’
    • ‘You would simply prioritise the foot that had more chilblains.’
    • ‘In fact, some of it is downright worth the chilblains.’
    • ‘January, February, and March bring a great cold, and inhumane conditions of food and weather for the girls - long marches to church in the blistering cold wind, swollen and flayed fingers and feet, and chilblains on the hands.’
    • ‘In the London cold, ‘She developed chilblains, and this annoyed her’.’
    • ‘I am too old to have anything other than chilblains as a sign of physical inflammation from the chest down.’
    • ‘As a cream or ointment, it can be applied directly to bruises, sprains, strains, chilblains or painful varicose veins - but only on unbroken skin.’
    swelling, spot, pimple, blister, pustule, eruption, blemish, carbuncle, wen, cyst, abscess, tumour, ulcer, gumboil
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Mid 16th century: from chill + blain.