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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A foot abscess had cast doubts on the colt's participation in the Epsom Classic on Wednesday week.
▪ A tame rabbit was brought in with a large abscess about the size of an egg on its cheek.
▪ He told me that was why I had the abscess.
▪ I remember his refusal of anesthesia when he had an operation on his leg and again a seri-ous abscess on his jaw.
▪ Rare occurrences of intracranial hematoma or abscess have also been reported.
▪ The nasal discharge and the discharge from the abscesses is highly infectious and this is how strangles is spread to other horses.
▪ The operation was successful, and Gandhi thanked the doctor profusely, but an abscess developed and recovery was slow.
▪ Three months later, the patient had fever and headache which led to the diagnosis of cerebral toxoplasmosis with multiple cerebral abscesses.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Abscess \Ab"scess\, n.; pl. Abscesses. [L. abscessus a going away, gathering of humors, abscess, fr. abscessus, p. p. of absedere to go away; ab, abs + cedere to go off, retire. See Cede.] (Med.) A collection of pus or purulent matter in any tissue or organ of the body, the result of a morbid process.

Cold abscess, an abscess of slow formation, unattended with the pain and heat characteristic of ordinary abscesses, and lasting for years without exhibiting any tendency towards healing; a chronic abscess.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, from Latin abscessus "an abscess" (Celsus), literally "a going away," from stem of abscedere "withdraw, depart, retire," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + cedere "to go" (see cede). The notion is that humors "go from" the body through the pus in the swelling.


n. A cavity caused by tissue destruction, usually because of infection, filled with pus and surrounded by inflame tissue. (First attested in the mid 16th century.)(R:SOED5: page=8) vb. (context intransitive English) To form a pus filled cavity typically from an infection.


n. symptom consisting of a localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue


An abscess is a collection of pus that has built up within the tissue of the body. Signs and symptoms of abscesses include redness, pain, warmth, and swelling. The swelling may feel fluid filled when pressed. The area of redness often extends beyond the swelling. Carbuncles and boils are types of abscess that often involve hair follicles with carbuncles being larger.

They are usually caused by a bacterial infection. Often many different types of bacteria are involved in a single infection. In the United States and many other areas of the world the most common bacteria present is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Rarely, parasites can cause abscesses and this is more common in the developing world. Diagnosis of a skin abscess is usually made based on what it looks like and is confirmed by cutting it open. Ultrasound imaging may be useful in cases in which the diagnosis is not clear. In abscesses around the anus, computer tomography (CT) may be important to look for deeper infection.

Standard treatment for most skin or soft tissue abscesses is cutting it open and drainage. There does not appear to be any benefit from also using antibiotics for this type of abscess in most people who are otherwise healthy. A small amount of evidence supports not packing the cavity that remains with gauze after drainage. Closing this cavity right after draining it rather than leaving it open may speed healing without increasing the risk of the abscess returning. Sucking out the pus with a needle is often not sufficient.

Skin abscesses are common and have become more common in recent years. Risk factors include intravenous drug use with rates reported as high as 65% in this population. In 2005 in the United States 3.2 million people went to the emergency department for an abscess. In Australia around 13,000 people were hospitalized in 2008 with the condition.

Abscess (band)

Abscess was a hardcore punk-influenced death metal band from Oakland, California. The band was formed in June 1994 by Chris Reifert and Danny Coralles, both former members of Autopsy. Abscess disbanded in 2010.

Usage examples of "abscess".

Brodie reports the history of a case in a negress who voided a fetus from an abscess at the navel about the seventeenth month of conception.

It was found that the womb had been ruptured and the child killed, for in several days it was delivered in a putrid mass, partly through the natural passage and partly through an abscess opening in the abdominal wall.

Autenreith mentions metastasis of milk through an abdominal abscess to the thigh, and Balthazaar also mentions excretion of milk from the thigh.

Knackstedt has seen an abscess of the thigh which contained eight pounds of milk.

In the second case, in a youth of sixteen, death occurred after washing out a deep abscess of the nates with the same solution.

A boy, suffering from abscess under the trochanter, was operated on for its relief.

Nicholson mentions a case of ulceration and abscess of the nostrils and face from which maggots were discharged.

To his surprise, thirty years afterward, one of the teeth was removed from an abscess of the tongue.

Volgnarius has seen a grain of wheat make its exit from the axilla, and Polisius mentions an abscess of the back from which was extracted a grain of wheat three months after ingestion.

Bally reports a somewhat similar instance, in which, three months after ingestion, during an attack of peripneumonia, a foreign body was extracted from an abscess of the thorax, between the 2d and 3d ribs.

At the autopsy it was found that an abscess communicating with the trachea had been formed in the pharynx and esophagus.

Gross speaks of a man of thirty who was in the habit of giving exhibitions of sword-swallowing in public houses, and who injured his esophagus to such an extent as to cause abscess and death.

On the twenty-sixth day an abscess formed on the left side below the nipple, and from it was discharged a large quantity of pus and blood.

Desgranges gives a case of a fish-spine in the abdominal cavity, and ten years afterward it ulcerated through an abscess in the abdominal wall.

It was not until adult life that from an abscess of the groin was expelled what remained of the spelling-book that had been driven into the abdomen during boyhood.