Other forms: cankered; cankers; cankering

A canker is a kind of sore. Some people are prone to getting cankers on their mouths. Canker can also refer to anything that is terrible and difficult to get rid of. Your parents might complain that the abandoned, run-down house two blocks away is a canker on your neighborhood.

In medicine, cankers are ulcers that are difficult to treat (the word is closely related to cancer). In agriculture, canker refers to a fungal disease that attacks the bark of trees. If one kid in your class misbehaves, and everyone suddenly follows his lead, that kid could be described (by your teachers) as a canker.

Definitions of canker
  1. noun
    an ulceration (especially of the lips or lining of the mouth)
    synonyms: canker sore
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    type of:
    ulcer, ulceration
    a circumscribed inflammatory and often suppurating lesion on the skin or an internal mucous surface resulting in necrosis of tissue
  2. noun
    a fungal disease of woody plants that causes localized damage to the bark
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    type of:
    plant disease
    a disease that affects plants
  3. verb
    become infected with a canker
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    type of:
    come down, sicken
    get sick
  4. verb
    infect with a canker
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    type of:
    communicate a disease to
  5. noun
    a pernicious and malign influence that is hard to get rid of
    “according to him, I was the canker in their midst”
    synonyms: pestilence
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    type of:
    a cognitive factor that tends to have an effect on what you do
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘canker'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

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