Share this entry


Synonyms of canker in English:


  • 1 this plant is susceptible to canker
    fungal disease, plant rot;
  • 2 ear cankers
    ulcer, ulceration, infection, sore, abscess, noma
  • 3 racism remains a canker See cancer (sense 2)
  • Reflections


    This medical noun signifies an especially icky ulcerous infection of the mouth or genitals. Because the condition most commonly strikes children living in abject poverty/squalor, it's a bit like scrofula. And just as the adjective scrofulous has gradually extended its sense to mean 'corrupt, degenerate, gnarly,' so nomal seems ripe for similar extension; it could serve as a slightly obscure or erudite synonym for 'scrofulous, repulsive, pathetically gross, grossly pathetic' … you get the idea.
    David Foster Wallace

    Definition of canker in:

    Share this entry


    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

    Word of the day confidant
    Pronunciation: ˈkänfəˌdant
    a person with whom one shares a secret...