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ergot

[ ur-guht, -got ]
/ ˈɜr gət, -gɒt /
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noun
Plant Pathology.
  1. a disease of rye and other cereal grasses, caused by a fungus of the genus Claviceps, especially C. purpurea, which replaces the affected grain with a long, hard, blackish sclerotial body.
  2. the sclerotial body itself.
Pharmacology. the dried sclerotium of C. purpurea, developed on rye plants: used in the production of ergotamine and ergotoxine.
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Origin of ergot

1675–85; <French: literally, a rooster's spur; Old French argos, argoz, argot spur(s)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ergot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ergot

ergot
/ (ˈɜːɡət, -ɡɒt) /

noun
a disease of cereals and other grasses caused by ascomycete fungi of the genus Claviceps, esp C. purpurea, in which the seeds or grain of the plants are replaced by the spore-containing bodies (sclerotia) of the fungus
any fungus causing this disease
the dried sclerotia of C. purpurea, used as the source of certain alkaloids used to treat haemorrhage, facilitate uterine contraction in childbirth, etc

Word Origin for ergot

C17: from French: spur (of a cock), of unknown origin
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

Scientific definitions for ergot

ergot
[ ûrgət ]

A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that infects rye as well as other cereal grasses fed to livestock. Ergot forms sclerotia (masses of hyphae) that replace individual seeds in the spike of the infected plant and contain a complex mixture of alkaloids, several of which are medicinally important. Ergot is the basic source of ergotamine and lysergic acid. Ingestion of infected rye produces convulsions, hallucinations, and severe vasoconstriction that can lead to gangrene. Ergot poisoning may have been responsible for outbreaks of mass hysteria and reports of demonic visions in medieval Europe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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