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From Old Northern French carbuncle, from Latin carbunculus.



carbuncle (plural carbuncles)

  1. (archaic) A deep-red or fiery colored garnet or other dark red precious stone, especially when cut cabochon.
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, scene 2, line 401:
      With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus []
    • 1611, Bible (King James Version), Isaiah 54:12:
      And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
    • 1634, Thomas Herbert, A Relation of Some Yeares Trauaile, Begunne Anno 1626. Into Afrique and the Greater Asia, especially the Territories of the Persian Monarchie: And some Parts of the Orientall Indies, and Iles Adiacent. Of their Religion, Language, Habit, Discent, Ceremonies, and other Matters Concerning Them: Together with the Proceedings and Death of the Three Late Ambassadours: Sir D. C[otton] Sir R. S[herley] and the Persian Nogdi-Beg: As also the Two Great Monarchs, the King of Persia, and the Great Mogol, London: Printed by William Stansby, and Iacob Bloome, OCLC 644078533; republished as William Foster, editor, Travels in Persia 1627–1629. Abridged and Edited by Sir William Foster [...] with an Introduction and Notes (Broadway Travellers), London: G. Routledge & Sons, 1928, OCLC 4900176, page 79:
      His turban, or mandil [mandīl], was of finest white silk interwoven with gold, bestudded with pearl[s] and carbuncles; []
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 155:
      A piece of marigold or bay leaf was imbedded in the metal, and over it a carbuncle or chrysolite was placed.
  2. (heraldry) A charge or bearing supposed to represent the precious stone, with eight sceptres or staves radiating from a common centre; an escarbuncle.
  3. (pathology) An abscess larger than a boil, usually with one or more openings draining pus onto the skin. It is usually caused by bacterial infection.
  4. An unpopular or ugly building; an eyesore.

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Borrowed from Latin carbunculus.


carbuncle m (oblique plural carbuncles, nominative singular carbuncles, nominative plural carbuncle)

  1. carbuncle (deep-red or fiery colored garnet or other dark red precious stone)