Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that infects various cereal plants and forms compact black masses of branching filaments that replace many of the grains of the host plant.
  • n. The disease caused by such a fungus.
  • n. The dried sclerotia of ergot, usually obtained from rye seed and used as a source of several medicinally important alkaloids and as the basic source of lysergic acid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any fungus in the genus Claviceps which are parasitic on grasses.
  • n. The sclerotium (wintering stage) of certain fungi in the genus Claviceps, appearing as a deformed grain in certain cereals and grasses infected by the fungi.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A diseased condition of rye and other cereals, in which the grains become black, and often spur-shaped. It is caused by a parasitic fungus, Claviceps purpurea.
  • n. The mycelium or spawn of this fungus infecting grains of rye and wheat. It is a powerful remedial agent, and also a dangerous poison, and is used as a means of hastening childbirth, and to arrest bleeding.
  • n. A stub, like soft horn, about the size of a chestnut, situated behind and below the pastern joint.
  • n. See 2d Calcar, 3 (b).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To infer; arrive at.
  • To draw conclusions.
  • n. In farriery, a stub, like a piece of soft horn, of about the size of a chestnut, situated behind and below the pastern-joint, and commonly hidden under the tuft of the fetlock.
  • n. A morbid growth arising from a diseased condition of the ovary of various grasses, caused by a fungus of the genus Claviceps.
  • n. In anatomy, the calcar. spur, or hippocampus minor of the brain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fungus that infects various cereal plants forming compact black masses of branching filaments that replace many grains of the plant; source of medicinally important alkaloids and of lysergic acid
  • n. a plant disease caused by the ergot fungus

Etymologies

French, from Old French argot, cock's spur (from its shape).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French ergot, from Old French argot ("spur"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He identified acetylcholine as a constituent of certain ergot extracts, and an analysis of its action served as a basis for later researches, extending the application of Loewi's discoveries, which have been recognized in the joint award of the

    Sir Henry Dale - Biography

  • Yes, corn ergot is somewhat rare, but you’ve probably seen it at least once in your life.

    Matthew Yglesias » Breitbart on Podesta

  • Not a single defendant at the1692 Salem Witch Trials was burned at the stake...19 were hanged while a 20th, a man who refused to enter a plea, was crushed to death with heavy stones medical historians have ascribed the bizarre behavior exhibited there to various causes, such as an outbreak of encephalitis or rye bread contaminated by the hallucinogenic known as ergot!

    Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.: 15 Intriguing Halloween-Related Factoids!

  • An allegation arose at some point that Carroll used the fungus ergot, which is what LSD was eventually derived from.

    Think Progress » After Telling Women, Gays How To Live, Oklahoma GOP Outraged At ‘Government Intervention’ In Divorces

  • The source of the affliction was a parasite on rye crops, a fungus known as ergot, which contains a series of compounds that among other characteristics causes the blood vessels to contract—hence the gangrene in the extremities.

    One River

  • The most important of these so-called sympathicolytic substances are the alkaloids which are found in ergot.

    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1957 - Presentation Speech

  • At the time, the outbreak was blamed on bread from a bakery called the Roch Briand that had supposedly become contaminated with a psychedelic fungus called ergot, which occurs naturally on rye bread.

    Aspen Times - Top Stories

  • Mold-induced food poisoning called ergot or ergotism.

    歪酷博客 Ycool Blog

  • Scientists believe many symptoms of toxicosis are caused by chemical compounds known as ergot alkaloids, but much is still unknown about how they cause clinical signs to develop.

    Southeast Farm Press RSS Feed

  • This monstrosity on the rye grains is called ergot, or spurred rye, and when it is eaten by chickens or other fowls their feet and legs shrivel or perish with dry gangrene, not because the spores of the fungus which produced the spurred rye circulate in the blood of the chicken, nor that the spawn or mycelium thus traverses the fowl, but the peculiar and specific influence acts upon the whole animal precisely like the poison of the poison oak, producing its specific effect on the most remote parts of the system, and not as mustard confined to the part it touches.

    Prairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 3, January 19, 1884. A Weekly Journal for the Farm, Orchard and Fireside

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