I. noun a swollen area within body tissue, containing an accumulation of pus. • once the abscesses burst, they usually discharge for several days before gradually healing up.
‹figurative› one of his priorities as prime minister was to lance the abscess of corruption.
II. derivatives abscessed adjective
– origin mid 16th cent.: from Latin abscessus ‘a going away’, from the verb abscedere, from ab- ‘away from’ + cedere ‘go’, referring to the elimination of infected matter via the pus.