Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ab-ses] /ˈæb sɛs/
noun, Pathology.
a localized collection of pus in the tissues of the body, often accompanied by swelling and inflammation and frequently caused by bacteria.
Origin of abscess
1535-45; < Latin abscessus a going away, abscess, equivalent to absced-, variant stem of abscēdere to go away, separate off, form an abscess (abs- abs- + cēdere; see cede) + -tus suffix of v. action, with -dt- > -ss-
Related forms
abscessed, adjective
unabscessed, adjective
Can be confused
abscess, obsess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for abscessed
Historical Examples
  • An abscessed tooth will explain her reticence on any other subject.

    Mrs. Balfame

    Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
  • But the truth would be harder to extract from that stern, scar-twisted mouth, than the abscessed tooth had been.

    Murder at Bridge

    Anne Austin
  • No, sir; I was off Thursday and Friday with abscessed tooth.

    Warren Commission (6 of 26): Hearings Vol. VI (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • In nine months a gentleman for whom I had filled four molars returned with an inferior one abscessed.

  • You've had a hard day with the abscessed tooth, the dope the dentist gave you, and—other things.

    Murder at Bridge

    Anne Austin
British Dictionary definitions for abscessed


/ˈæbsɛs; -sɪs/
a localized collection of pus formed as the product of inflammation and usually caused by bacteria
(intransitive) to form such a collection of pus
Derived Forms
abscessed, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin abscessus a going away, a throwing off of bad humours, hence an abscess, from abscēdere to go away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for abscessed

1846, in medicine, from abscess (n.).



1610s, from Latin abscessus "an abscess" (Celsus), literally "a going away," from stem of abscedere "withdraw," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + cedere "to go" (see cede). The notion is that humors "go from" the body through the pus in the swelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
abscessed in Medicine

abscess ab·scess (āb'sěs')

  1. A collection of pus formed by tissue destruction in an inflamed area of a localized infection.

  2. A cavity that is formed by liquefactive necrosis within solid tissue.

v. ab·scessed, ab·scess·ing, ab·scess·es
To form an abscess.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
abscessed in Science
A localized collection of pus surrounded by infected tissue.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
abscessed in Culture
abscess [(ab-ses)]

An inflamed area (see inflammation) in the body tissues that is filled with pus.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for abscessed

Difficulty index for abscess

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for abscessed

Scrabble Words With Friends