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

  • noun Biology A fleshy naked outgrowth, such as a fowl's wattles.
  • noun Botany An outgrowth or appendage at or near the hilum of certain seeds, as of the castor-oil plant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small horny protuberance, at the tip of a young bird's beak, which serves to break the egg-shell at the time of hatching: same as egg-tooth.
  • noun A peculiar leaf-like sense-organ found on the dorsal side of the segments at the anterior end of certain polychætous annelids, especially those belonging to the family Amphinomidæ.
  • noun A small fleshy excrescence, either natural or morbid. Specifically
  • noun In ornithology, a fleshy excrescence on the head of a bird, as the comb or one of the wattles of a hen.
  • noun In botany, a protuberance surrounding the hilum of a seed. Strictly, it is an outgrowth of the micropyle, or external orifice of the ovule.
  • noun In entomology, a naked, more or less rounded, fleshy elevation of the surface, especially on the body of a caterpillar or other insect-larva.

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

  • noun (Anat.) A small fleshy prominence or excrescence; especially the small, reddish body, the caruncula lacrymalis, in the inner angle of the eye.
  • noun (Bot.) An excrescence or appendage surrounding or near the hilum of a seed.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A naked, flesh appendage, on the head of a bird, as the wattles of a turkey, etc.

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

  • noun A small, fleshy excrescence that is a normal part of an animal's anatomy
  • noun A similar excrescence near the hilum of some seeds

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

  • noun an outgrowth on a plant or animal such as a fowl's wattle or a protuberance near the hilum of certain seeds


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

[Obsolete French caruncule, from Latin caruncula, diminutive of carō, flesh; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin caruncula ("wart").



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  • See snood.

    November 22, 2007

  • Skipvia, Google thinks you want information on cystic mesothelioma and other cancerous horrors. Can't a guy just post about a protuberance?

    November 22, 2007

  • Caruncle has many meanings, nearly all of them as ugly as the word itself. Even protuberance is rather distasteful-sounding.

    From Word.A.Day: "From Latin caruncula (small piece of flesh), diminutive of caro (flesh). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sker- (to cut) that is also the source of skirt, curt, screw, shard, shears, carnage, carnivorous, carnation, sharp, and scrape."

    It just gets worser and worser... :)

    November 22, 2007

  • Blecch. But I love protuberance! I've even added it to my favorites. :-)

    November 22, 2007

  • caruncular, carunculous, carunculate, carunculated.

    August 5, 2016