noun[mass noun] historical , informal
Gangrene of the jawbone caused by phosphorus poisoning.
More 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.