from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Decay of a bone or tooth, especially dental caries.
  • noun Instances of such decay, especially dental cavities.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A destructive disease of bone, causing a friable condition and worm-eaten appearance, attended with suppuration. It is probable that several distinct pathological processes lead to this morbid condition.
  • noun A disease of the teeth, resulting in the disintegration of their substance and the formation of cavities. In man and carnivorous animals it is supposed to be caused by one of the bacteria, Leptothrix buccalis. See Leptothrix.
  • noun In botany, decay of the walls of the cells and vessels.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) Ulceration of bone; a process in which bone disintegrates and is carried away piecemeal, as distinguished from necrosis, in which it dies in masses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The progressive destruction of bone or tooth by decay

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

  • noun soft decayed area in a tooth; progressive decay can lead to the death of a tooth


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

[Latin cariēs.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin caries.



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  • God help me, but I can't stop!

    Lines composed while brushing and flossing

    If you should suffer from the caries,

    Which often times cause for despair is,

    Fear not for here in Buenos Aires,

    The quality of dental care is

    Very good, a thing that rare is

    But not down here in Buenos Aires

    The dentists, like benign tooth fairies

    Will save your teeth from Raton Perez.

    Cancel your trip to the Canaries!

    And come on down to Buenos Aires.

    September 29, 2009

  • Doggerel rots your teeth.

    September 29, 2009

  • The singular of caries rhymes well with lots of other words... "Have at it", as my Father would say.

    September 29, 2009

  • "The dentist and I sat in his dusty surgery under a diorama of curiously garish posters depicting dental caries."

    Psychogeography by Will Self, 93

    October 16, 2010