[hwit-loh, wit-]


an inflammation of the deeper tissues of a finger or toe, especially of the terminal phalanx, usually producing suppuration.

See also felon2.

Origin of whitlow

1350–1400; Middle English whit(f)lowe, whitflawe. See white, flaw1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of whitlow

British Dictionary definitions for whitlow



any pussy inflammation of the end of a finger or toe

Word Origin for whitlow

C14: changed from whitflaw, from white + flaw 1
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 whitlow

"inflammation on a finger or toe," mid-15c., alteration of whitflaw (c.1400), from flaw, with first element possibly from Dutch vijt or Low German fit "abscess."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

whitlow in Medicine




The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.