Definitions

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

  • noun Dead and decaying flesh.
  • adjective Of or similar to dead and decaying flesh.
  • adjective Feeding on such flesh.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A dead body; a corpse; a carcass; flesh.
  • noun A mere carcass: used of a living person, as a term of contempt.
  • noun The dead and putrefying body or flesh of animals; flesh so corrupted as to be unfit for food.
  • Dead and putrefying, as a carcass.

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

  • adjective Of or pertaining to dead and putrefying carcasses; feeding on carrion.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) any beetle that feeds habitually on dead animals; -- also called sexton beetle and burying beetle. There are many kinds, belonging mostly to the family Silphidæ.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a South American bird of several species and genera (as Ibycter, Milvago, and Polyborus), which act as scavengers. See Caracara.
  • adjective the common European crow (Corvus corone) which feeds on carrion, insects, fruits, and seeds.
  • noun The dead and putrefying body or flesh of an animal; flesh so corrupted as to be unfit for food.
  • noun obsolete A contemptible or worthless person; -- a term of reproach.

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

  • noun Dead flesh; carcasses.

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

  • noun the dead and rotting body of an animal; unfit for human food

Etymologies

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

[Middle English careine, from Anglo-Norman, from Vulgar Latin *carōnia, from Latin carō, flesh; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • I soak up a few fingers of a bottle of mescal and sweat a lot at a table in the rear of the cantina with my back to the wall, and I watch the shadows of the zopilotes heaving past, the mangy black vultures that seem to be in the city's official employ to remove carrion from the streets, and I think mostly about what crybabies Wilson and Bryan, his paunchy windbag of a Secretary of State, have turned out to be.

    The One in White

  • I soak up a few fingers of a bottle of mescal and sweat a lot at a table in the rear of the cantina with my back to the wall, and I watch the shadows of the zopilotes heaving past, the mangy black vultures that seem to be in the city's official employ to remove carrion from the streets, and I think mostly about what crybabies Wilson and Bryan, his paunchy windbag of a Secretary of State, have turned out to be.

    The One in White

  • It's bald for one reason only, no feathers, because when it gets down to carrion, which is a dead animal they start eating, bacteria cannot grow on its head, cannot grow in the feathers.

    CNN Transcript Nov 25, 2009

  • It's bald for one reason only, no feathers, because when it gets down to carrion, which is a dead animal they start eating, bacteria cannot grow on its head, cannot grow in the feathers.

    CNN Transcript Dec 24, 2009

  • So they're being forced to eat birds, carrion, which is dead animals.

    CNN Transcript Apr 17, 2006

  • The woman had pulled the chair to the other side of the hearth and sat watching him as one would a boar feeding on carrion, that is to say with a certain measure of fascinated disgust.

    Cold Mountain

  • The woman had pulled the chair to the other side of the hearth and sat watching him as one would a boar feeding on carrion, that is to say with a certain measure of fascinated disgust.

    Cold Mountain

  • I truly give in to despair at times, that deep, futureless pit of despair that the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called carrion comfort.

    Prayers To Broken Stones

  • I truly give in to despair at times, that deep, futureless pit of despair that the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called carrion comfort.

    Carrion Comfort

  • Its leaves, when bruised, emit a strong smell like that of carrion, which is very loathsome.

    Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure

Comments

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  • The kind of baggage that vultures bring with them when flying.

    November 3, 2007

  • does wisdom perhaps appear on earth as a raven, inspired by the smell of carrion?

    Nietzsche

    July 25, 2008

  • Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee...

    -Gerard Manley Hopkins

    May 5, 2009

  • "He looked up at the radiant sky, and it appeared pure, untainted by carrion eaters."

    Lord Foul's Bane, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, BOOK ONE, Chapter Five.

    July 29, 2012