AskDefine | Define carrion

Dictionary Definition



1 dead and rotting flesh; unfit for human food
2 the dead and rotting body of an animal

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Dead flesh; carcasses.
    Vultures feed on carrion.


  • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room, Vintage Classics, paperback edition, page 119
    Perhaps the Purple Emperor is feasting, as Morris says, upon a mass of putrid carrion at the base of an oak tree.


dead flesh; carcasses


  1. Of or pertaining to carrion.

Extensive Definition

Carrion (from the Latin caro, meaning meat) refers to the carcass of a dead animal. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems. Examples of carrion-eaters, or scavengers, include hyenas, vultures, Virginia Opossum, Tasmanian Devils, Bald Eagles, and Blue-tongued lizards. Many invertebrates, such as worms and carrion beetles (family Silphidae) also eat carrion and play an important role in recycling animal remains.
Carrion begins to decay the moment of the animal's death, and it will increasingly attract insects and breed bacteria. Not long after the animal has died, its body will begin to smell of a foul odour, caused by the presence of bacteria, and the emission of cadaverine and putrescine. Some plants and fungi smell like decomposing carrion and attract insects that aid in reproduction. Plants that exhibit this behavior are known as carrion flowers. Stinkhorn mushrooms are examples of fungi with this characteristic.
carrion in Aragonese: Carnota
carrion in Danish: Ådsel
carrion in German: Aas
carrion in French: Charogne
carrion in Ossetian: Хæдмæл
carrion in Italian: Carogna
carrion in Hebrew: פגר
carrion in Dutch: Aas (kadaver)
carrion in Norwegian: Kadaver
carrion in Norwegian Nynorsk: Åtsel
carrion in Polish: Padlina
carrion in Portuguese: Carniça
carrion in Russian: Падаль
carrion in Simple English: Carrion
carrion in Swedish: Kadaver
carrion in Turkish: Leş
carrion in Ukrainian: Падаль

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ashes, bilge, bilgewater, body, bones, cadaver, carcass, caries, clay, corpse, corpus delicti, corruption, crowbait, dandruff, dead body, dead man, dead person, decay, decedent, decomposition, dishwater, ditchwater, dry bones, dry rot, dust, earth, embalmed corpse, excrement, filth, food for worms, foul matter, foulness, furfur, gangrene, garbage, late lamented, mess, mortal remains, mortification, muck, mucus, mummification, mummy, necrosis, obscenity, offal, offscourings, ordure, organic remains, pus, putrefaction, putrescence, putrid matter, putridity, putridness, rancidity, rancidness, rankness, refuse, relics, reliquiae, remains, riffraff, rot, rottenness, scum, scurf, scuz, sewage, sewerage, skeleton, slime, slop, slops, slough, smut, sphacelation, sphacelus, spoilage, stiff, swill, tenement of clay, the dead, the deceased, the defunct, the departed, the loved one, tooth decay
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