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ergot

[ur-guh t, -got] /ˈɜr gət, -gɒt/
noun
1.
Plant Pathology.
  1. a disease of rye and other cereal grasses, caused by a fungus of the genus Claviceps, especially C. purpurea, which replaces the affected grain with a long, hard, blackish sclerotial body.
  2. the sclerotial body itself.
2.
Pharmacology. the dried sclerotium of C. purpurea, developed on rye plants: used in the production of ergotamine and ergotoxine.
Origin
1675-1685
1675-85; < French: literally, a rooster's spur; Old French argos, argoz, argot spur(s)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ergot
  • The current process for manufacturing it is a rather messy one involving ergot, a parasite of rye.
  • It is derived originally from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye.
  • Then, suddenly, it is as though they have all consumed ergot.
  • If a migraine is diagnosed, you may be prescribed medications that contain ergot.
British Dictionary definitions for ergot

ergot

/ˈɜːɡət; -ɡɒt/
noun
1.
a disease of cereals and other grasses caused by ascomycete fungi of the genus Claviceps, esp C. purpurea, in which the seeds or grain of the plants are replaced by the spore-containing bodies (sclerotia) of the fungus
2.
any fungus causing this disease
3.
the dried sclerotia of C. purpurea, used as the source of certain alkaloids used to treat haemorrhage, facilitate uterine contraction in childbirth, etc
Word Origin
C17: from French: spur (of a cock), of unknown origin
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
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Word Origin and History for ergot
n.

fungal disease of rye and other grasses, 1680s, from French ergot, from Old French argot "cock's spur" (12c.), of unknown origin. The blight so called from the shape the fungus forms on the diseased grain. Ergotism "disease caused by eating ergot-infected breadstuffs," first recorded 1853. An alkaloid from the fungus, ergotamine (1921) is used to treat migraines.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ergot in Medicine

ergot er·got (ûr'gət, -gŏt')
n.

  1. A fungus that infects various cereal plants and forms compact black masses of branching filaments that replace many of the grains of the host plant.

  2. The dried sclerotia of ergot, usually obtained from rye seed and used as a source of several medicinally important alkaloids and as the basic source of lysergic acid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ergot in Science
ergot
  (ûr'gət)   
A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that infects rye as well as other cereal grasses fed to livestock. Ergot forms sclerotia (masses of hyphae) that replace individual seeds in the spike of the infected plant and contain a complex mixture of alkaloids, several of which are medicinally important. Ergot is the basic source of ergotamine and lysergic acid. Ingestion of infected rye produces convulsions, hallucinations, and severe vasoconstriction that can lead to gangrene. Ergot poisoning may have been responsible for outbreaks of mass hysteria and reports of demonic visions in medieval Europe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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