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See more synonyms for abscess on Thesaurus.com
noun Pathology.
  1. a localized collection of pus in the tissues of the body, often accompanied by swelling and inflammation and frequently caused by bacteria.
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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 formsab·scessed, adjectiveun·ab·scessed, adjective
Can be confusedabscess obsess
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for abscessed

aching, inflamed, uncomfortable, tender, sharp, painful, hurting, bruised, acute, burning, sensitive, raw, annoying, smarting, extreme, afflicted, burned, critical, distressing, hurtful

Examples from the Web for abscessed

Historical Examples of abscessed

  • 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


  1. a localized collection of pus formed as the product of inflammation and usually caused by bacteria
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  1. (intr) to form such a collection of pus
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Derived Formsabscessed, adjective

Word Origin for abscess

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

Word Origin and History for abscessed


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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

abscessed in Medicine


  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.
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  1. To form an abscess.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

abscessed in Science


  1. A localized collection of pus surrounded by infected tissue.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

abscessed in Culture



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

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