Definition of caruncle in English:


Pronunciation /kəˈrəNGkəl/ /kəˈrəŋkəl/

See synonyms for caruncle on


  • 1A wattle of a bird such as a turkey.

    ‘Adding to what Dominique just said, while feathers are by far the predominant outgrowths there are other bizarre protrusions, and I am not talking about the wattles or the caruncles.’
    • ‘You can even tell when a turkey isn't feeling well by looking at their caruncle or wattle because they become very pale and colorless.’
    comb, plume, tuft, topknot, mane
  • 2The red prominence at the inner corner of the eye.

    • ‘Systemic effects from eye drops can be reduced by occlusion (finger pressed on the caruncle, which is felt as a lump at the inner corner of the eye) or shutting the eyes for several minutes after putting in the drops.’
  • 3Botany
    An outgrowth from a seed near the micropyle, attractive to ants that aid the seed's dispersal.

    ‘The seed of this plant has a caruncle that may be involved in seed-ant interactions.’
    • ‘The ant stopped to examine the gorse seeds, it quickly found the bright orange caruncle and immediately began to bite and gnaw it.’


Late 16th century obsolete French, from Latin caruncula, from caro, carn- ‘flesh’.