From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English canker, cancre, from Old English cancer, akin to Dutch kanker, Old High German chanchar. Ultimately from Latin cancer (a cancer). Doublet of cancer, a later borrowing from Latin, and chancre, which came through French.


canker (countable and uncountable, plural cankers)

  1. (phytopathology) A plant disease marked by gradual decay.
  2. A region of dead plant tissue caused by such a disease.
    • 1977, The Potato: Major Diseases and Nematodes, International Potato Center, page 46:
      Slightly sunken brown cankers of variable size and shape affect stem parts primarily below the soil line.
  3. A worm or grub that destroys plant buds or leaves; cankerworm.
  4. A corroding or sloughing ulcer; especially a spreading gangrenous ulcer or collection of ulcers in or about the mouth.
  5. Anything which corrodes, corrupts, or destroys.
  6. A kind of wild rose; the dog rose.
  7. An obstinate and often incurable disease of a horse's foot, characterized by separation of the horny portion and the development of fungoid growths. Usually resulting from neglected thrush.
  8. An avian disease affecting doves, poultry, parrots and birds of prey, caused by Trichomonas gallinae.
  • (ulcer, especially of the mouth): water canker, canker of the mouth, noma
  • (bird disease): avian trichomoniasis, roup
  • (hawk disease): frounce
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English cankren, from the noun (see above).


canker (third-person singular simple present cankers, present participle cankering, simple past and past participle cankered)

  1. (transitive) To affect as a canker; to eat away; to corrode; to consume.
    • 1850, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC, (please specify |part=prologue or epilogue, or |canto=I to CXXIX):
      Still onward winds the dreary way; / I with it; for I long to prove / No lapse of moons can canker Love, / Whatever fickle tongues may say.
  2. (transitive) To infect or pollute; to corrupt.
  3. (intransitive) To waste away, grow rusty, or be oxidized, as a mineral.
  4. (intransitive) To be or become diseased, or as if diseased, with canker; to grow corrupt; to become venomous.
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i]:
      as with age his body uglier grows,
      So his mind cankers.
    • 1972, E. M. Forster, chapter 36, in Maurice[1], Penguin, page 156:
      [] the road, always in bad condition, was edged with dog roses that scratched the paint. Blossom after blossom crept past them, draggled by the ungenial year: some had cankered, others would never unfold:




Alternative forms[edit]


Middle English canker, cancre, Old English cancer, akin to Dutch kanker, Old High German chanchar. From Latin cancer (a cancer).



canker (plural cankers)

  1. Bad temper.


canker (third-person singular simple present cankers, present participle cankerin, simple past cankert, past participle cankert)

  1. (archaic) To become bad-tempered, to fret, to worry.