carbuncle

\ \ [13] Etymologically, a carbuncle is a ‘small piece of coal’. It comes ultimately from Latin carbunculus, a diminutive form of carbōcoal’ (source of English carbon). This reached English via Old French carbuncle. The Latin word had two main metaphorical meanings, based on the idea of a glowing coal: ‘red gem’ and ‘red inflamed spot’, both of which passed into English. The latter achieved some notoriety in British English in the 1980s following a remark by the Prince of Wales in 1984 comparing a piece of modern architecture unfavourably to a ‘carbuncle’, although ironically from the 15th to the 17th centuries the word was used for ‘something of great splendour’.
\ \ Cf.CARBON

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Carbuncle — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Étymologie Carbuncle vient du latin carbunculus qui signifie pierre rouge foncée. Jeux vidéo Carbuncle est une invocation fréquente dans l univers de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • carbuncle — early 13c., fiery jewel, from O.N.Fr. carbuncle (O.Fr. charbocle) carbuncle stone, also carbuncle, boil, from L. carbunculus red gem, also red, inflamed spot, lit. a little coal, from carbo (gen. carbonis) coal (see CARBON (Cf. carbon)).… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Carbuncle — Car bun*cle, n. [L. carbunculus a little coal, a bright kind of precious stone, a kind of tumor, dim. of carbo coal: cf. F. carboncle. See {Carbon}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Min.) A beautiful gem of a deep red color (with a mixture of scarlet) called… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • carbuncle — *abscess, boil, furuncle, pimple, pustule …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • carbuncle — ► NOUN 1) a severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin. 2) a bright red gem, in particular a polished garnet. DERIVATIVES carbuncular adjective. ORIGIN Latin carbunculus small coal , from carbo coal, charcoal …   English terms dictionary

  • carbuncle — [kär′buŋ΄kəl] n. [ME < OFr < L carbunculus, a little coal, gem < carbo: see CARBON] 1. a) Archaic any of certain deep red gems b) a smooth, convex, deep red garnet 2. a painful bacterial infection (esp. Staphylococcus aureus) deep… …   English World dictionary

  • Carbuncle — A carbuncle is an abscess larger than a boil, usually with one or more openings draining pus onto the skin. It is usually caused by bacterial infection, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus. The infection is contagious and may spread to other… …   Wikipedia

  • carbuncle — [13] Etymologically, a carbuncle is a ‘small piece of coal’. It comes ultimately from Latin carbunculus, a diminutive form of carbō ‘coal’ (source of English carbon). This reached English via Old French carbuncle. The Latin word had two main… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • carbuncle — /kahr bung keuhl/, n. 1. Pathol. a painful circumscribed inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, resulting in suppuration and sloughing, and having a tendency to spread somewhat like a boil, but more serious in its effects. 2. a gemstone, esp. a …   Universalium

  • carbuncle — UK [ˈkɑː(r)ˌbʌŋk(ə)l] / US [ˈkɑrˌbʌŋk(ə)l] noun [countable] Word forms carbuncle : singular carbuncle plural carbuncles 1) a big painful lump under your skin, caused by an infection 2) a red jewel 3) a building that is extremely unpleasant to… …   English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.