Anthrax An"thrax, n. [L., fr. Gr. ? coal, carbuncle.] 1. (Med.) (a) A carbuncle. (b) A malignant pustule. 2. (Biol.) A microscopic, bacterial organism (Bacillus anthracis), resembling transparent rods. [See Illust. under Bacillus.] 3. An infectious disease of cattle and sheep. It is ascribed to the presence of a rod-shaped bacterium (Bacillus anthracis), the spores of which constitute the contagious matter. It may be transmitted to man by inoculation. The spleen becomes greatly enlarged and filled with bacteria. Called also splenic fever., Malignant Ma*lig"nant, a. [L. malignans, -antis, p. pr. of malignare, malignari, to do or make maliciously. See Malign, and cf. Benignant.] 1. Disposed to do harm, inflict suffering, or cause distress; actuated by extreme malevolence or enmity; virulently inimical; bent on evil; malicious. A malignant and a turbaned Turk. --Shak. 2. Characterized or caused by evil intentions; pernicious. ``Malignant care.' --Macaulay. Some malignant power upon my life. --Shak. Something deleterious and malignant as his touch. --Hawthorne. 3. (Med.) Tending to produce death; threatening a fatal issue; virulent; as, malignant diphtheria. Malignant pustule (Med.), a very contagious disease, transmitted to man from animals, characterized by the formation, at the point of reception of the virus, of a vesicle or pustule which first enlarges and then breaks down into an unhealthy ulcer. It is marked by profound exhaustion and usually fatal. Called also charbon, and sometimes, improperly, anthrax., Carbuncle 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 escarbuncle.