Definition of phossy jaw in English:

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phossy jaw

Pronunciation: /ˈfɒsi/


[mass noun] historical, informal
Gangrene of the jawbone caused by phosphorus poisoning.
Example sentences
  • Many of the women suffered from ‘phossy jaw’, a particularly nasty form of bone cancer caused by handling the yellow phosphorus used in match production.
  • Phossy jaw is a very distressing form of industrial disease.


Late 19th century: phossy by abbreviation of phosphorus necrosis, denoting gangrene of the jaw.

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