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See also: Carrion



From Middle English caroigne, borrowed from Anglo-Norman caroigne, from Vulgar Latin *carōnia, from Latin caro (flesh). Compare French charogne.

The regular modern English form would be *carren, *carron /ˈkæɹ.ən/ (this is found dialectally; see below); the intervening /i/ is probably a hypercorrection based on the analogy of words like merlin/merlion.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkæ.ɹi.ən/
  • (dialectal or obsolete) IPA(key): /ˈkæɹ.ən/[1]
  • (file)


carrion (usually uncountable, plural carrions)

  1. (chiefly uncountable) Dead flesh; carcasses.
    Vultures feed on carrion.
    • 1633, Edmund Spenser, A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande  [], Dublin: [] Sir James Ware; reprinted as A View of the State of Ireland [], Dublin: [] the Society of Stationers, [] Hibernia Press, [] By John Morrison, 1809:
      They did eat the dead carrions.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, The Haunted House:
      He brought down with him to our haunted house a little cask of salt beef; for, he is always convinced that all salt beef not of his own pickling, is mere carrion []
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room, Vintage Classics, paperback edition, page 119
      Perhaps the Purple Emperor is feasting, as Morris says, upon a mass of putrid carrion at the base of an oak tree.
  2. (countable, obsolete, derogatory) A contemptible or worthless person.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Hall, Joseph Sargent (March 2, 1942), “2. The Vowel Sounds of Unstressed and Partially Stressed Syllables”, in The Phonetics of Great Smoky Mountain Speech (American Speech: Reprints and Monographs; 4), New York: King's Crown Press, DOI:10.7312/hall93950, →ISBN, § II.2, page 65.