Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.


1. Ulceration of the mouth and lips.
2. An inflammation or infection of the ear and auditory canal, especially in dogs and cats.
3. A condition in horses similar to but more advanced than thrush.
a. A localized diseased or necrotic area on a plant part, especially on a trunk, branch, or twig of a woody plant, usually caused by fungi or bacteria.
b. Any of several diseases of plants characterized by the presence of such lesions.
5. A source of spreading corruption or decay.
v. can·kered, can·ker·ing, can·kers
1. To attack or infect with canker.
2. To infect with corruption or decay.
To become infected with or as if with canker.

[Middle English, from Old English cancer and from Old French cancre, both from Latin cancer, crab, malignant disease; see kar- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Botany) (esp of fruit trees) affected by canker
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
With cankered ingenuity, he sought out his own disease in every breast.
Save it were the cankered wrath of an old witch like Mistress Hibbins," added he, attempting to smile, "I know nothing that I would not sooner encounter than this passion in a child.
Ah," said he at once, "that rose is cankered! And look, this one is quite crooked!