Definition of "ergot" [er•got]

  • A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that infects various cereal plants and forms compact black masses of branching filaments that replace many of the grains of the host plant. (noun)
  • The disease caused by such a fungus. (noun)
  • The dried sclerotia of ergot, usually obtained from rye seed and used as a source of several medicinally important alkaloids and as the basic source of lysergic acid. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "ergot" in a sentence
  • "He identified acetylcholine as a constituent of certain ergot extracts, and an analysis of its action served as a basis for later researches, extending the application of Loewi's discoveries, which have been recognized in the joint award of the"
  • "Yes, corn ergot is somewhat rare, but you’ve probably seen it at least once in your life."
  • "Not a single defendant at the1692 Salem Witch Trials was burned at the stake...19 were hanged while a 20th, a man who refused to enter a plea, was crushed to death with heavy stones medical historians have ascribed the bizarre behavior exhibited there to various causes, such as an outbreak of encephalitis or rye bread contaminated by the hallucinogenic known as ergot!"