• synonyms


[hwit-loh, wit-]
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  1. an inflammation of the deeper tissues of a finger or toe, especially of the terminal phalanx, usually producing suppuration.
See also felon2.

Origin of whitlow

1350–1400; Middle English whit(f)lowe, whitflawe. See white, flaw1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for whitlow

Historical Examples

  • Paul, you land a couple of blows on Whitlow and then follow Alice.

    The Moving Picture Girls in War Plays

    Laura Lee Hope

  • A felon or Whitlow is a more extensive and a more serious condition.

  • Mr. Whitlow rents a gin, but will own one of his own this year.

  • Whitlow half-expected him to remove his hat, but he did not.

    Minor Detail

    John Michael Sharkey

  • "That's fortunate," said Whitlow, munching desultorily at his sandwich.

    Minor Detail

    John Michael Sharkey

British Dictionary definitions for whitlow


  1. any pussy inflammation of the end of a finger or toe

Word Origin

C14: changed from whitflaw, from white + flaw 1
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

Word Origin and History for whitlow


"inflammation on a finger or toe," mid-15c., alteration of whitflaw (c.1400), from flaw, with first element possibly from Dutch vijt or Low German fit "abscess."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

whitlow in Medicine


  1. felon