[kair-eez, -ee-eez]

noun, plural car·ies.

decay, as of bone or of plant tissue.

Origin of caries

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




a female given name, form of Caroline. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caries

Historical Examples of caries

British Dictionary definitions for caries


noun plural -ies

progressive decay of a bone or a tooth

Word Origin for caries

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' ...."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

caries in Medicine



n. pl. caries

Decay of a bone or tooth, especially dental caries.
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

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.