Word of Week (WOW) – Carbuncle

wow (1)

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week. To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link).

I’ve already been through the alphabet once and now have started again. I’m looking at the letter this week.

This makes a nice break in my Malta posts. Back to those soon . . .

So, here is my WOW for this week: 





  1. A severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria:
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Image courtesy of Pixabay

(Perhaps not the best example of a severe carbuncle. I really didn’t want to put anyone off  reading by looking at the image I found on Wikipedia!)

2.  A bright red gem, in particular a garnet cut en cabochon. (En cabochon means polished but not faceted.)

A small sample of garnet. Author: Teravolt. Commons

3.  A mythical creature. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any images of this one, but here’s a description I found on a blog here:

Carbuncle was a mythical creature, reportedly sighted in the Americas by Spanish conquistadors. It is described as a small creature, a bird or a mammal, that has a gem in its forehead, crystalised from the brain of a dead dragon. According to myth, it is good luck to catch a carbuncle.

4. Also called London brown. a dark greyish, red-brown color.


car·bun·cle  (kɑr bʌŋ kəl)

Audio:  carbuncle

Part of Speech:  


Related Forms:

Adjectives: carbuncle, carbunkled or carbuncular (having the colour of a carbuncle)

Word Origin:

1150-1200; Middle English, from Old French, charbuncle, from Latin carbunculus ‘small coal’, from carbo ‘coal, charcoal’.


boil, blister, sore, abscess, pustule, pimple, spot, wart, wen, whitlow, canker



Use in a Sentence:

  1. The great storm drove our sailing ship considerably off course, and once it had abated, a small, carbuncular island came gradually into sight:
Bangchuidao Island, Dalian, China. Author: Jesse900. Commons
Bangchuidao Island, Dalian, China. Author: Jesse900. Commons

2. (Adjective use) The exterior of the pomegranate had ripened into a deep, carbuncular red, but the seeds inside were bright scarlet:

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Image courtesy of Pixabay

3. This example is a little longer than a sentence … but who’s word counting? 🙂

‘The ugly witch cackled, her voice like a corncrake, and when she turned I saw the massive green carbuncle sitting on her nose. She –’

‘Stop!’ yelled Mrs Humphreys, the tyrant English teacher. ‘I told you several times, William, that carbuncles are red.’

‘Well, this one i’n’t,’ William retorted. ‘Me dad said the word can mean just a big lump. ‘E should know, he ‘ad one on his b-’

‘Enough!’ Mrs Humphreys shrieked as the class dissolved into fits of laughter. ‘Only red carbuncles permitted in this story. If your father disagrees, William, he can see me about it’

‘He bleedin’ well will, un’ all,’ William muttered under his breath. ‘You’re wrong about this, yer silly old moo.’

(Apologies to all teachers, including my former self.)

Shutterstock image
Shutterstock image


If you’d like to view more interesting words, visit Heena’s Page

Word Treasure

31 thoughts on “Word of Week (WOW) – Carbuncle

    1. I’m impressed that you kne carbochon. It’s not a very common word – so that shows you have a wide vocabulary.:D As for ‘vocabularied’… I’m not sure that one exists! But if it doesn’t, it certainly should! I’m so glad you’re feeling extra vocabularied, anyway. 🙂 Thank you for liking example 3. I couldn’t resist writing that.

  1. When I was a child, about 3 or 4 years old, I remember I had these big carbuncles on my b… . Could not sit. My mother took me many times to the hospital to clean it up. The one in the first photo is one that every teenager hates!

    1. Well, Ineke, your first sentence had me in stitches. I know the problem wasn’t at all funny to you, at the time, But the way you’ve explained it made me hoot. And yes, the carbuncle on the nose picture is horrible – but not nearly as bad as osme pics I saw online. They really were just like huge, abscesses. Not nice!
      Hope you are well. I’ll be hopping over to do some ‘catch up’ on your blog later on. I didn’t visit any whhiloe |I was in Malta. Talk again soon. 🙂

      1. Glad you had a good laugh. Shows what language difficulty do. No worries. I am busy putting an ebook together with my first flash fiction writings in it. It is very difficult for someone who doesn’t know a lot about formatting, editing and all the things that need to be in place before the next step can be completed.

      2. I wish you every luck with your ebook – especially the formatting part. I had someone format my books, but it isn’t cheap. With Book 3, Louise is going to work on the formatting with me. A lot of people seem to have the same idea lately about making their FF into ebooks. And why not? After we’ve taken the time to write them, we might as well make use of them. Louise has been talking about making hers into an ebook for ages now, and has been trying to talk me into doint the same with mine. I haven’t the time right now, but who knows later on?
        As for your remark, Ineke, it wasn’t your use of language that made me laugh, it was the clever way you quoted to phrase from my story about having a carbuncle on your b- ! You did that so well. 🙂

      3. I realized it after I went back to my comment and saw it was about the way I explained it not the use! It is easier to put an ebook together than a printed one. I have down loaded some FF books. Some are good while others are not that good. It is worth it to try!

  2. Look at you Millie! You “WOW” series are always so spot on!!! The photos you chose are brilliant and the story just made it very interesting. It made the learning process much more fun than usual!!! 😉

    1. Thank you, Khloe. I enjoyed doing about carbuncle. It’s quite a fun word, with several different meanings, too. I’m glad you liked my little story. It was all I could think of writing for the funny little witch picture. 🙂

      1. You’re welcome Millie ;_) That’s the magic you have. You always know how to select fun words and make them much more interesting than what they are 😉 Keep it up!!! ❤

  3. I love your examples, especially the last one!
    I had no idea what carbuncle meant and now that I’ve “seen” the first pic, I guess I’ve understood it pretty well… hehe!
    Thanks for this week’s WOW, Millie 🙂

    1. Are you doing your WOW again, Heena? If you are, I’ll link up to your posts again. I just don’t want to bother you while you’re sorting your book out. Thank you for liking my post, anyway! I enjoyed doing this one. 🙂

      1. No probs. I’ll be doing the next one either tomorrow or on Sunday.
        Have a great day! (I’m not sure if it’s still day there… it’s 12:45 am here… 2 hrs past my bed time. lol!)

    1. That’s very true. He seems to have a great liking for the word.His usage reminds me of a TV series back in the 70’s or 8o’s called ‘Blot on the Landscape’. I’ve always seen carbuncle as a word used in comedy sketches, so it tends to make me laugh every time I hear it. 🙂

  4. Well, I am dumbstruck. I can’t improve on your examples this week, particularly the prolix/half-novella rendering of number three (I was counting).

    1. I bet you could improve on them, Prospero – you usually manage something really witty. 🙂 As for the ‘half-novella’ (I prefer that to ‘prolix’, since I refuse to admit that my ramblings are tedious) I couldn’t write a mere sentence for such a silly picture. Now could I? Trust you to count! 😀

      1. Au contraire (which is French for ‘on the contrary’–I’m just trying to prepare you for your next trip to France, as someday all hotels, hostels, guest houses, and straw huts in Malta may be rented or otherwise occupied, sending you scrambling for an attractive alternative), you have the pustular carbuncle all sewn up with your elegant examples (and being squeamish by nature, I dared not look at the suture-ready atrocity on wikipedia).

        P.S. Prolix is not necessarily tedious: Long and wordy; extending to a great length.

        Now I can’t wait for the letter P so that we may continue this fascinating discussion, without, quite naturally, resorting to long-winded, prolix explanations.

      2. Now that’s the kind of comment I’ve come to expect from you, Prospero. There may well come a time – probably next September – when not even a straw hut will be available on Malta. Then I’d be happy to look at France, especially the Loire Valley (lots of nice castles there). The pustular carbuncles on Wiki were more like gaping sores, and certainly not for a sensitive soul, like you. So please avoid at all costs. As for prolix – it’s a splendid word and probably explains my usual (unedited) style admirably. 🙂

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