[gang-green, gang-green]Pathology
See more synonyms for gangrene on
  1. necrosis or death of soft tissue due to obstructed circulation, usually followed by decomposition and putrefaction.
  2. moral or spiritual corruption and decadence that pervades an individual or group: “This church body has been afflicted with a spiritual gangrene that is poisoning our relationship with the Lord,” the preacher expostulated.
verb (used with or without object), gan·grened, gan·gren·ing.
  1. to affect or become affected with gangrene.

Origin of gangrene

1535–45; < Middle French gangrene (earlier cancrene) < Latin gangraena < Greek gángraina ‘an eating sore’
Related formsgan·gre·nous [gang-gruh-nuh s] /ˈgæŋ grə nəs/, adjectivenon·gan·gre·nous, adjectiveun·gan·grened, adjectiveun·gan·gre·nous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gangrene

Contemporary Examples of gangrene

Historical Examples of gangrene

  • This bed was empty, because gangrene had set in, and the patient had died but yesterday.

  • He thought there had been gangrene and that it was going to fall off.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon

    Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon

  • Of course, if gangrene occurs, the man is permanently invalided.


    John French, Viscount of Ypres

  • If gangrene has set in and no doctor is available, then treat as a burn.

  • Gangrene was in all the wards, the filth and foulness of the atmosphere were fearful.

    Woman's Work in the Civil War

    Linus Pierpont Brockett

British Dictionary definitions for gangrene


  1. death and decay of tissue as the result of interrupted blood supply, disease, or injury
  2. moral decay or corruption
  1. to become or cause to become affected with gangrene
Derived Formsgangrenous (ˈɡæŋɡrɪnəs), adjective

Word Origin for gangrene

C16: from Latin gangraena, from Greek gangraina an eating sore; related to Greek gran to gnaw
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 gangrene

1540s, from Latin gangraena, from Greek gangraina "an eating or gnawing sore," literally "that which eats away," reduplicated form of gran- "to gnaw," from PIE root *gras- (see gastric).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gangrene in Medicine


[gănggrēn′, găng-grēn]
  1. Death and decay of body tissue, often in a limb, caused by insufficient blood supply and usually following injury or disease.
Related formsgangre•nous (gănggrə-nəs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

gangrene in Science


  1. Death of tissue in a living body, especially in a limb, caused by a bacterial infection resulting from a blockage of the blood supply to the affected tissue.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

gangrene in Culture


[(gang-green, gang-green)]

The death and decay of body tissue owing to insufficient supply of blood.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.