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ergot

[ ur-guht, -got ]

noun

  1. 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.
  2. Pharmacology. the dried sclerotium of C. purpurea, developed on rye plants: used in the production of ergotamine and ergotoxine.


ergot

/ ˈɜːɡət; -ɡɒt /

noun

  1. 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
  2. any fungus causing this disease
  3. the dried sclerotia of C. purpurea, used as the source of certain alkaloids used to treat haemorrhage, facilitate uterine contraction in childbirth, etc


ergot

/ ûrgət /

  1. 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.


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Word History and Origins

Origin of ergot1

1675–85; < French: literally, a rooster's spur; Old French argos, argoz, argot spur(s)
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Word History and Origins

Origin of ergot1

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

Another important member of this group is the tiny parasite found on rye and other grains, which gives us the drug ergot.

Occasionally rye flour is made from rye upon which ergot has developed.

The history of Ergot of Rye is too fresh in the memory of most people to require more than an allusion here.

When gathered the ergot is in large irregular lumps, and should be so kept.

Ergot of Rye is a stimulant to the muscular nerves of the Uterus of the female, but to no other nerves in any marked degree.

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ergosterolergotamine