< /ˈkæŋ kri/. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Crab, a zodiacal constellation between Gemini and Leo.

  • (initial capital letter) Astrology.
    1. the fourth sign of the zodiac: the cardinal water sign.
    2. a person born under this sign, usually between June 21 and July 22.
  • (initial capital letter) tropic of. See under tropic(def 1a).
  • noun

    1. any type of malignant growth or tumour, caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division: it may spread through the lymphatic system or blood stream to other parts of the body
    2. the condition resulting from this
    3. an evil influence that spreads dangerously

    noun Latin genitive Cancri (ˈkæŋkriː)

    1. astronomy a small faint zodiacal constellation in the N hemisphere, lying between Gemini and Leo on the ecliptic and containing the star cluster Praesepe
    2. astrology
      1. Also called: the Crabthe fourth sign of the zodiac, symbol ♋, having a cardinal water classification and ruled by the moon. The sun is in this sign between about June 21 and July 22
      2. Also called: Moonchilda person born during a period when the sun is in this sign
    3. tropic of Cancer See tropic (def. 1)


    1. astrology born under or characteristic of Cancer

    1560s, from cancer + -ous.


    Old English cancer “spreading sore, cancer” (also canceradl), from Latin cancer “a crab,” later, “malignant tumor,” from Greek karkinos, which, like the Modern English word, has three meanings: crab, tumor, and the zodiac constellation (late Old English), from PIE root *qarq- “to be hard” (like the shell of a crab); cf. Sanskrit karkatah “crab,” karkarah “hard;” and perhaps cognate with PIE root *qar-tu- “hard, strong,” source of English hard.

    Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen, among others, noted similarity of crabs to some tumors with swollen veins. Meaning “person born under the zodiac sign of Cancer” is from 1894. The sun being in Cancer at the summer solstice, the constellation had association in Latin writers with the south and with summer heat. Cancer stick “cigarette” is from 1959.


    1. Any of various malignant neoplasms characterized by the proliferation of anaplastic cells that tend to invade surrounding tissue and metastasize to new body sites.
    2. The pathological condition characterized by such growths.

    1. A disease characterized by any of various malignant neoplasms composed of abnormal cells that tend to proliferate rapidly and invade surrounding tissue. Without treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, cancer cells can metastasize to other body sites and cause organ failure and death.
    2. A malignant tumor.

    1. A faint constellation in the Northern Hemisphere near Leo and Gemini. Cancer (the Crab) is the fourth sign of the zodiac.

    A disease characterized by rapid growth of cells in the body, often in the form of a tumor. Cancer is invasive — that is, it can spread to surrounding tissues. Although this disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, research has provided considerable insight into its many causes (which may include diet, viruses, or environmental factors) and options for treatment (which include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and possibly gene therapy).

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