Words related to Cancer
also *ker-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hard."
It forms all or part of: -ard; Bernard; cancer; canker; carcinogen; carcinoma; careen; chancre; -cracy; Gerard; hard; hardly; hardy; Leonard; Richard; standard.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit karkatah "crab," karkarah "hard;" Greek kratos "strength," kratys "strong;" "hard;" Old English heard, German hart "solid and firm, not soft."
The word was the common one for "cancer" until c. 1700, but since the reintroduction of cancer in a more scientific sense it has tended to be restricted to gangrenous sores of the mouth. Also used since 15c. of caterpillars and insect larvae that eat plant buds and leaves. As a verb, "to corrode, corrupt," from late 14c. Related: Cankered; cankerous.