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[gang-green, gang-green] /ˈgæŋ grin, gæŋˈgrin/ Pathology
necrosis or death of soft tissue due to obstructed circulation, usually followed by decomposition and putrefaction.
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 object), verb (used without object), gangrened, gangrening.
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 forms
[gang-gruh-nuh s] /ˈgæŋ grə nəs/ (Show IPA),
nongangrenous, adjective
ungangrened, adjective
ungangrenous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gangrene
  • gangrene happens when a body part loses its blood supply.
  • If they cannot be treated successfully, the result may be gangrene.
  • He lost both legs to gangrene after lying untreated on a hospital floor for three days.
  • Toward the end, gangrene could set in, rotting fingers and toes and driving away caregivers with the horrific stench.
  • The gangrene toxin is not made by the bacterium's own genes but by a gene of a companion virus.
  • From the housing market, the gangrene has moved to the banking sector.
  • The doctor's advice for avoiding gangrene is to avoid infection, not precautionary limb removal.
  • Of all the mayhem an infectious-diseases doctor sees in a lifetime, nothing tops spontaneous gas gangrene.
  • Often, there is a slightly greenish and bleached tinge that suggests spiritual gangrene.
  • She was at risk of gangrene and agreed to an emergency hernia operation.
British Dictionary definitions for gangrene


death and decay of tissue as the result of interrupted blood supply, disease, or injury
moral decay or corruption
to become or cause to become affected with gangrene
Derived Forms
gangrenous (ˈɡæŋɡrɪnəs) adjective
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for gangrene

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
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gangrene in Medicine

gangrene gan·grene (gāng'grēn', gāng-grēn')
Death and decay of body tissue, often in a limb, caused by insufficient blood supply and usually following injury or disease.

gan'gre·nous (gāng'grə-nəs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gangrene in Science
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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gangrene in Culture
gangrene [(gang-green, gang-green)]

The death and decay of body tissue owing to insufficient supply of blood.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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