Definition of ergot in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈəːɡɒt/


1 [mass noun] A fungal disease of rye and other cereals in which black elongated fruiting bodies grow in the ears of the cereal. Eating contaminated food can result in ergotism.
Example sentences
  • One of the first recorded attacks was in the seventh century BC when the Assyrians used a fungal disease called ergot to poison water supplies.
  • Our oldest recorded plant disease, ergot was first described on an Assyrian cuneiform tablet as a ‘noxious pustule in the ear of grain.’
  • Rye suffers from a peculiar disease called ergot, caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea.
1.1The fruiting bodies of the ergot fungus, used as a source of certain medicinal alkaloids, especially for inducing uterine contractions or controlling post-partum bleeding.
Example sentences
  • Atropine, digitalis, ergot alkaloids, and diuretics may interact with phenylephrine.
  • The review included 13 controlled trials of ergot derivatives.
  • Because of their ability to cause peripheral vasoconstriction, ergot alkaloids should not be used chronically.
2A small horny protuberance on the back of each of a horse’s fetlocks.
Example sentences
  • I have chosen to write about the evolution of the horse's chestnut as well as the ergot.
  • Normally the ergot is very close to the skin, but sometimes they grow out to an inch or more and can be unsightly when this hair is clipped for show purposes.


Late 17th century: from French, from Old French argot 'cock's spur' (because of the appearance produced by the disease).

Words that rhyme with ergot


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Line breaks: ergot

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