[ ur-guh-tiz-uhm ]

  1. a condition caused by eating rye or some other grain that is infected with ergot fungus or by taking an overdose of a medicine containing ergot, characterized by cramps, spasms, and a form of gangrene.

Origin of ergotism

First recorded in 1850–55; ergot + -ism

Words Nearby ergotism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ergotism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ergotism


/ (ˈɜːɡəˌtɪzəm) /

  1. ergot poisoning, producing either burning pains and eventually gangrene in the limbs or itching skin and convulsions: Also called: Saint Anthony's fire

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