[ uhl-ser ]
/ ˈʌl sər /
Save This Word!

Pathology. a sore on the skin or a mucous membrane, accompanied by the disintegration of tissue, the formation of pus, etc.
any chronically corrupting or disrupting condition, element, etc.


Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of ulcer

1350–1400; Middle English <Latin ulcer- (stem of ulcus); akin to Greek hélkos


an·ti·ul·cer, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does ulcer mean?

An ulcer is a sore on the skin or on a mucous membrane, such as the lining of your stomach. If left untreated, ulcers can result in serious health problems, such as inflammation or death of tissues.

Ulcers in the stomach are fairly common in Western countries. They are generally easy to treat but can become serious if not treated.

Example: The doctor discovered that an ulcer was causing my stomach pain.

Where does ulcer come from?

The first records for the word ulcer come from around 1350. It ultimately comes from the Latin ulcus, meaning “a sore or ulcer.”

The most common variety of ulcer is the peptic ulcer, which occurs in the stomach or small intestine. Symptoms of ulcers include nausea, heartburn, and pain.

Ulcers by themselves are not usually serious and can easily be cured with antibiotics. However, if not treated, they can lead to more serious problems, such as holes in the stomach tissue or infections.

It was once thought that ulcers were caused by stress or acids. Today we now know that ulcers are caused by bacteria or as a side effect of certain medicines, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to ulcer?

  • antiulcer (adjective)

What are some synonyms for ulcer?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ulcer

What are some words that often get used in discussing ulcer?


How is ulcer used in real life?

Ulcers are not fun at all and will result in a trip to the doctor.

Try using ulcer!

True or False?

A peptic ulcer is a sore in your stomach.

How to use ulcer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ulcer

/ (ˈʌlsə) /

a disintegration of the surface of the skin or a mucous membrane resulting in an open sore that heals very slowlySee also peptic ulcer
a source or element of corruption or evil

Word Origin for ulcer

C14: from Latin ulcus; related to Greek helkos a sore
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 ulcer

[ ŭlsər ]

A break in the skin or a mucous membrane, such as the one lining the stomach or duodenum, accompanied by inflammation, pus, and loss of tissue.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for ulcer

[ (ul-suhr) ]

An inflamed open sore on the skin or mucous membrane. An ulcer may form in the inner lining of the stomach or duodenum, interfere with digestion, and cause considerable pain.

notes for ulcer

It used to be thought that stress was the cause of stomach and duodenal ulcers, but we now know that they are caused by bacteria and can be cured by antibiotics.
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.