• synonyms


[kair-eez, -ee-eez]
See more synonyms for caries on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural car·ies.
  1. decay, as of bone or of plant tissue.
  2. dental caries.
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Origin of caries

First recorded in 1625–35, caries is from the Latin word cariēs decay
Can be confusedcaries carries


  1. a female given name, form of Caroline.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for caries

Historical Examples

  • In some cases, the odor arising from caries is combined with that of the stomach.

    The Ladies Book of Useful Information


  • In toothache arising from caries, and as a lotion to the temples in headache.

  • The quality of Fijian teeth as reflected by frequency of caries is excellent.

  • It was a case of caries, they said, and Austin mustn't hunt sheep any more.

    Austin and His Friends

    Frederic H. Balfour

  • Scepticism, that caries of the intelligence, had not left him a single whole idea.

    Les Misrables

    Victor Hugo

British Dictionary definitions for caries


noun plural -ies
  1. progressive decay of a bone or a tooth
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin: decay; related to Greek kēr death
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 caries


1630s, from Latin caries "rottenness, decay," from Proto-Italic *kas-, usually said to be from PIE root *kere- "to injure, break apart" (cf. Greek ker "death, destruction," Old Irish krin "withered, faded"). Related: Carious. But de Vaan writes that "semantically, caries may just as well belong to careocared 'to lack' as 'defect, state of defectiveness' ...."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

caries in Medicine


n. pl. caries
  1. Decay of a bone or tooth, especially dental caries.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

caries in Science


Plural caries
  1. Decay of a bone or tooth. Dental plaque formed by bacteria initiates a progressive process of decay that, if left unchecked, leads to tooth loss.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.