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  1. a small, black-tipped, fatty mass in a skin follicle, especially of the face; comedo.
  2. any of several birds having a head that is black, as the greater scaup, Aythya marila.
  3. Also called enterohepatitis. Veterinary Pathology. a malignant, infectious disease of turkeys, chickens, and many wild birds, caused by a protozoan parasite, Histomonas meleagridas, attacking especially the intestines and liver, and often characterized by a darkening of the skin on the head.

Origin of blackhead

First recorded in 1650–60; black + head Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of blackhead

British Dictionary definitions for blackhead


  1. a black-tipped plug of fatty matter clogging a pore of the skin, esp the duct of a sebaceous glandTechnical name: comedo
  2. an infectious and often fatal disease of turkeys and some other fowl caused by the parasitic protozoa Histomonas meleagridisTechnical name: infectious enterohepatitis
  3. any of various birds, esp gulls or ducks, with black plumage on the head
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 blackhead

"comedo," 1837, from black (adj.) + head (n.). So called for its appearance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

blackhead in Medicine


  1. A plug of keratin and sebum within a hair follicle that is blackened at the comedo
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.