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[gang-green, gang-green] /ˈgæŋ grin, gæŋˈgrin/ Pathology
necrosis or death of soft tissue due to obstructed circulation, usually followed by decomposition and putrefaction.
moral or spiritual corruption and decadence that pervades an individual or group:
“This church body has been afflicted with a spiritual gangrene that is poisoning our relationship with the Lord,” the preacher expostulated.
verb (used with or without object), gangrened, gangrening.
to affect or become affected with gangrene.
Origin of gangrene
1535-45; < Middle French gangrene (earlier cancrene) < Latin gangraena < Greek gángraina ‘an eating sore’
Related forms
[gang-gruh-nuh s] /ˈgæŋ grə nəs/ (Show IPA),
nongangrenous, adjective
ungangrened, adjective
ungangrenous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gangrene
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This bed was empty, because gangrene had set in, and the patient had died but yesterday.

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • He thought there had been gangrene and that it was going to fall off.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
  • Of course, if gangrene occurs, the man is permanently invalided.


    John French, Viscount of Ypres
  • If gangrene has set in and no doctor is available, then treat as a burn.

  • gangrene was in all the wards, the filth and foulness of the atmosphere were fearful.

    Woman's Work in the Civil War Linus Pierpont Brockett
British Dictionary definitions for gangrene


death and decay of tissue as the result of interrupted blood supply, disease, or injury
moral decay or corruption
to become or cause to become affected with gangrene
Derived Forms
gangrenous (ˈɡæŋɡrɪnəs) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin gangraena, from Greek gangraina an eating sore; related to Greek gran to gnaw
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
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Word Origin and History for gangrene

1540s, from Latin gangraena, from Greek gangraina "an eating or gnawing sore," literally "that which eats away," reduplicated form of gran- "to gnaw," from PIE root *gras- (see gastric).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gangrene in Medicine

gangrene gan·grene (gāng'grēn', gāng-grēn')
Death and decay of body tissue, often in a limb, caused by insufficient blood supply and usually following injury or disease.

gan'gre·nous (gāng'grə-nəs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gangrene in Science
Death of tissue in a living body, especially in a limb, caused by a bacterial infection resulting from a blockage of the blood supply to the affected tissue.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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gangrene in Culture
gangrene [(gang-green, gang-green)]

The death and decay of body tissue owing to insufficient supply of blood.

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