[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 gangrenous

Historical Examples of gangrenous

  • The reaction of the gangrenous matter in certain stages was alkaline.

  • I speak to Carre in veiled words of the troublesome, gangrenous leg.

  • Cameron found his gorge rise at the sight of the gangrenous ankle.

  • Never has this been tried—and man is ever at it—but what the end has been gangrenous and fatal.

    The Great Illusion

    Norman Angell

  • Their brains are gangrenous with memories of cancelled malice.

    Out To Win

    Coningsby Dawson

British Dictionary definitions for gangrenous


  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 gangrenous

1610s, from gangrene + -ous.



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

gangrenous 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.

gangrenous 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.

gangrenous 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.