You don't want gangrene, that's for sure. It's the infection that can develop around a wound that kills the tissue, turning it into a terrible stinking sore.

In the days before antibiotics even the smallest scratch could lead to gangrene, and doctors would often cut off a finger or even a limb and then seal it with a red hot poker rather than risk the infection spreading. Special surgeons known as sawbones were famed for the speed they could amputate a limb to avoid gangrene setting in. Enough to stop you ever being nostalgic about the good old days.

Definitions of gangrene
  1. noun
    the localized death of living cells (as from infection or the interruption of blood supply)
    synonyms: mortification, necrosis, sphacelus
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    localized death of muscle cell fibers
    type of:
    the permanent end of all life functions in an organism or part of an organism
  2. noun
    necrotic tissue; a mortified or gangrenous part or mass
    synonyms: slough, sphacelus
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    cold gangrene, dry gangrene, mumification necrosis, mummification
    (pathology) gangrene that develops in the presence of arterial obstruction and is characterized by dryness of the dead tissue and a dark brown color
    clostridial myonecrosis, emphysematous gangrene, emphysematous phlegmon, gangrenous emphysema, gas gangrene, gas phlegmon, progressive emphysematous necrosis
    (pathology) a deadly form of gangrene usually caused by clostridium bacteria that produce toxins that cause tissue death; can be used as a bioweapon
    type of:
    any deviation from a healthy or normal condition
  3. verb
    undergo necrosis
    synonyms: mortify, necrose, sphacelate
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    type of:
    rot, waste
    become physically weaker
Word Family

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