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From French gangrène, from Latin gangraena, from Ancient Greek γάγγραινα (gángraina, gangrene).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɡaŋˌɡɹiːn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɡæŋˌɡɹin/
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: gan‧grene


gangrene (countable and uncountable, plural gangrenes)

  1. The necrosis or rotting of flesh, usually caused by lack of blood supply.
    If gangrene sets in, we may have to amputate the foot.
  2. (figurative) A damaging or corrupting influence.
    • 1960, Cora Vreede-de Stuers, The Indonesian woman: struggles and achievements:
      Women should earn equal wages with men for equal work done. Child marriages and polygamy are a gangrene on society.

Derived terms[edit]



gangrene (third-person singular simple present gangrenes, present participle gangrening, simple past and past participle gangrened)

  1. (transitive) To produce gangrene in.
    • 1682, Pains afflicting humane bodies, their various Difference, Causes, Parts affected, Signals of Danger or Safety, page 204:
      Vulneration or section sometimes procures a Gangrene, when the vital Principle is so debilitated, or enormous by the would, that instead of a good suppuration and vigorous transmutation, a depraved matter is generated, which corrupts and gangrenes the part: and thus a small cut of a finger or Toe hath gangrened, and killed the person: but in greater Wounds, the danger is greater, as more frequently to happen.
    • 1762 December, John Chandler, “A Treatise of the Disease called a Cold”, in The critical review, or annals of literature, volume 12, page 423:
      An intensely biting frost will gangrene the membrane ; a foggy state of the atmosphere, with low, black, stagnant exhalations, accompanied with sudden, frequent intermissions, interchanges, and oscillations of dryness and moisture, expansion and condensation, will corrupt and putrify both the membrane and the mucous discharge.
    • 1851 December, “The Wit and Wickedness of Sarcasm”, in The Ladies' Repository, volume 20, page 224:
      For where it chances to be successful, it is like the copper shot of the Mexicans, which gangrenes the wound.
  2. (intransitive) To be affected with gangrene.
    • 1786, John Selden, Table Talk: Being the Discourses of John Selden:
      If a man had a sore leg, and he should go to an honest, judicious chirurgeon, and he should only bid him keep it warm, and anoint it with such an oil, (an oil well known) that would do the cure; haply he would not much regard him, because he knows the medicine, beforehand an ordinary medicine; but if he should go to a surgeon that should tell him, your leg will gangrene within three days, and it must be cut off, and you will die, unless you do something that I could tell you, what listening there would be to this man?
    • 1911, British Medical Journal - Volume 1911, Issues 1-3, page 239:
      The leg will gangrene if the superficial femoral vessels be torn.
    • 2005, Nikki Moustaki, Parrots For Dummies, page 282:
      If not, the toe will gangrene and fall off.
  3. (transitive) To corrupt; To cause to become degenerate.
    • 1801, George Walker, The Three Spaniards:
      That is true,” replied Almira, “nothing can be performed without labor, and where there is labor there will be discontent, and where there is no labor there will be heart-burning and jealousy about insignificant trifles, such as gangrenes the real pleasures of contemplation within these walls; walls, which would otherwise hold out an asylum, much to be prized by those who have been unfortunate, who have lost all their friends, or who are weary of the world."
    • 1889 July, John Miller, “The Abuse of Marriage”, in The Centennial Magazine: An Australian Monthly, volume 2, number 12, page 902:
      The Stuart Restoration period was a necessary sequence of the Puritan period, and there is a similar cause for the sensualism that gangrenes the heart of our morbidly prudish Society of to-day.
    • 1930, P.R. Stephensen, The Legend of Aleister Crowley: A Study of the Facts:
      The same delusion will gangrene England within the lifetime of most men of military age unless she will realize that gold is dross ; that her poets, her artists, and her scholars are her very soul.




gangrene n (uncountable)

  1. (Belgium) Alternative form of gangreen.



gangrene f

  1. plural of gangrena





  1. inflection of gangrenar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative