Car"bun*cle (?), n. [L.
carbunculus a little coal, a bright kind of precious
stone, a kind of tumor, dim. of carbo coal: cf. F.
carboncle. See Carbon.]
1. (Min.) A beautiful gem of a
deep red color (with a mixture of scarlet) called by the Greeks
anthrax; found in the East Indies. When held up to the
sun, it loses its deep tinge, and becomes of the color of burning
coal. The name belongs for the most part to ruby sapphire, though
it has been also given to red spinel and garnet.
2. (Med.) A very painful acute
local inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, esp. of the trunk
or back of the neck, characterized by brawny hardness of the
affected parts, sloughing of the skin and deeper tissues, and
marked constitutional depression. It differs from a boil in size,
tendency to spread, and the absence of a central core, and is
frequently fatal. It is also called anthrax.
3. (Her.) A charge or bearing
supposed to represent the precious stone. It has eight scepters
or staves radiating from a common center. Called also