• WordNet 3.6
    • n carbuncle an infection larger than a boil and with several openings for discharge of pus
    • n carbuncle deep-red cabochon garnet cut without facets
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Carbuncle (Min) A beautiful gem of a deep red color (with a mixture of scarlet) called by the Greeks anthrax; found in the East Indies. When held up to the sun, it loses its deep tinge, and becomes of the color of burning coal. The name belongs for the most part to ruby sapphire, though it has been also given to red spinel and garnet.
    • Carbuncle (Her) A charge or bearing supposed to represent the precious stone. It has eight scepters or staves radiating from a common center. Called also escarbuncle.
    • Carbuncle (Med) A very painful acute local inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, esp. of the trunk or back of the neck, characterized by brawny hardness of the affected parts, sloughing of the skin and deeper tissues, and marked constitutional depression. It differs from a boil in size, tendency to spread, and the absence of a central core, and is frequently fatal. It is also called anthrax.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n carbuncle A beautiful gem of a deep-red color, inclining to scarlet, found chiefly in the East Indies. When held up to the sun it loses its deep tinge, and becomes of the color of a burning coal. It was formerly believed to be capable of shining in darkness. The carbuncle of the ancients in believed to have been a garnet, some varieties of which still go by that name, though the name included also the ruby and the spinel.
    • n carbuncle In pathology, a circumscribed inflammation of the subcutaneous connective tissue, resulting in suppuration and sloughing, and having a tendency to extend itself, undermining the skin. It is somewhat similar to a boil, but more serious in its effects.
    • n carbuncle In her.: A charge or bearing generally consisting of 8 radiating staffs or scepters, 4 of which are vertical and horizontal and 4 diagonal or saltierwise, and supposed to represent the precious stone carbuncle. Also called escarbuncle.
    • n carbuncle The tincture red, when describing a nobleman's escutcheon according to the system of blazoning by precious stones. See blazon, n., 2.
    • n carbuncle A whelk or “toddy-blossom” on a drunkard's face.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Carbuncle kär′bung-kl a fiery-red precious stone: an inflamed ulcer: a pimple on the nose
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. carbunculus, a little coal, a bright kind of precious stone, a kind of tumor, dim. of carbo, coal: cf. F. carboncle,. See Carbon
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. carbunculus, dim. of carbo, a coal.


In literature:

Our popular books are carbuncles mostly.
"The Lost Art of Reading" by Gerald Stanley Lee
Everywhere he saw nothing but gold, silver, diamonds, carbuncles, and emeralds.
"Laboulaye's Fairy Book" by Various
Was I wrong when I called you the carbuncle of my stock?
"The Brass Bell" by Eugène Sue
The tips of his Ears were like two pendant Carbuncles.
"The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous, Vol. 3 of 3" by George Augustus Sala
Carbuncle is, essentially, an extensive boil.
"Alcohol: A Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine, How and Why" by Martha M. Allen
For fungous flesh, it promotes discharge, and destroys both gangrenes and carbuncles.
"The Leper in England: with some account of English lazar-houses" by Robert Charles Hope
Tsian Tang brought out a platter of red amber on which lay a carbuncle.
"The Chinese Fairy Book" by Various
Her neck and arms were covered with carbuncles more brilliant than the sun.
"Old French Fairy Tales" by Comtesse de Ségur
When infection of the blood takes place from the intestines the carbuncles may be absent.
"Special Report on Diseases of Cattle" by U.S. Department of Agriculture
An' whin I had th' carbuncle on me neck I yelled at her!
"Carmen Ariza" by Charles Francis Stocking

In poetry:

"I will bring thee windows of agates,
And gates of carbuncles bright,
And thy fairest courts and portals
Shall be filled with love and light.
"The Building" by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Ah, there blossom'd flowers beside the river,
And bright colours gleam'd upon the meadow,
Gold, and green, and purple, and enamell'd,
All like carbuncles and emeralds seeming!
"Love As A Landscape Painter" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There were men from the mountains and ‘Dead Man’s Gulch’
Their red shirts and knives you could swear on
There were men with carbuncles and bristling beards
There were ‘Bush’ men - and men with no hair on.
"The Gambler" by Billy Bennett
Now, dyed with burning carbuncle, a Limbo-litten pane,
Within its wall of storm, the West opens to hill and plain,
On which the wild geese ink themselves, a far triangled train;
And then the shuttering clouds close down--and night is here again.
"Sunset In Autumn" by Madison Julius Cawein