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an epidermal tumor of viral origin; the term is also applied loosely to any of various benign epidermal proliferations of nonviral origin. Called also verruca. Warts are generally more common among children and young adults than among older persons. Most are less than 0.6 cm (a quarter of an inch) in diameter; they may be flat or raised and dry or moist. Usually they have a rough and pitted surface, either flesh-colored or darker than the surrounding skin. They usually develop on the fingers and hands, but may also occur on the elbows, face, scalp, or other areas. When on especially vulnerable parts of the body, such as the knee or elbow, they are subject to irritation and may become quite tender. Two specific types are plantar warts and venereal warts.

A wart develops between 1 and 8 months after the virus becomes lodged in the skin. The virus is often spread by scratching, rubbing, and slight razor cuts. In more than half the cases, warts disappear without treatment, but some remain for years.
Treatment. Many popular “cures” for warts have been suggested, but are generally useless. Furthermore, self-treatment by cutting, scraping, or using acids or patent medicines may cause bacterial infection, scarring, and other harm without eliminating the warts. A troublesome wart should be removed only by a health care provider, who may use acids, electrodesiccation, or freezing with liquid nitrogen. Warts are notoriously stubborn. Often the virus remains in the skin, and the wart grows again.
plantar wart a viral epidermal tumor on the sole of the foot, sometimes the result of going barefoot; unlike other warts, this type is usually sensitive to pressure and may be painful during walking. Called also verruca plantaris.
venereal w's condylomata acuminata.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl.


(vĕ-rū'kă, -kē),
A flesh-colored growth characterized by circumscribed hypertrophy of the papillae of the corium, with thickening of the malpighian, granular, and keratin layers of the epidermis, caused by human Papillomavirus; also applied to epidermal verrucous tumors of nonviral etiology.
Synonym(s): verruga, wart
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


a. A hard rough lump growing on the skin, caused by infection with certain viruses and occurring typically on the hands or feet.
b. A similar growth or protuberance, as on a plant.
2. A genital wart.

wart′ed, wart′y adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Verruca Dermatology A typically rough round or oval raised bump on mucocutaneous surfaces that may be lighter or darker than the surrounding normal skin, skin colored or rarely black induced by papovaviruses, and single most common reason for dermatologic consultation; warts are most common in children and adolescents, and rarely develop de novo in adults Types Common wart–verruca vulgaris, filiform wart, plantar wart, juvenile flat wart Location Anyplace, most common on hands, feet–plantar wart, around and under the fingernails or toenails–periungual or subungual warts–very difficult to treat, face; numerous very small smooth flat warts–pinhead size often in large numbers on children's faces, foreheads, arms and legs are called verrucae planae juvenili Clinical Ranges from spontaneous involution, common in flat warts to extreme recalcitrance, typical of periungual and moist plantar warts; plantar warts are identical to common warts but, because of their location on the soles of the feet, they can become extremely painful, especially if they are numerous, compromising running and walking; dermatologic consult is usually triggered by cosmetic considerations; genital/venereal warts are located on the genitals and are sexually transmitted Management 'Benign neglect' and 'abracadabra therapy' are most effective in young children–implying a component of biofeedback control of the immune system, chemocautery–5-20% formalin, phenol-nitric acid-salicylic acid, podophyllin, electrodissection, X-ray–narrow field, low dose, rarely used; DCNB immunotherapy Prognosis Recurrence is common, as is spontaneous involution within 2 years. See Genital wart, HPV, Mosaic wart, Musician's wart, Prosector's wart.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, pl. verrucae (vĕr-ū'kă, -kē)
A flesh-colored growth characterized by circumscribed hypertrophy of the papillae of the corium, with thickening of the malpighian, granular, and keratin layers of the epidermis, caused by human papillomavirus; also applied to epidermal verrucous tumors of nonviral etiology.
Compare: verruga peruana
Synonym(s): verruga, wart.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


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A circumscribed cutaneous elevation resulting from hypertrophy of the papillae and epidermis. See: illustration
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common wart

Verruca vulgaris.illustration
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genital wart

A wart of the genitalia, caused by strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) some of which are transmitted by sexual contact. In women they may be associated with cancer of the cervix and vulva. An estimated 1 million new cases of genital warts occur each year in the U.S., making genital warts the most common sexually transmitted illness. They commonly occur with other genital infections, and grow rapidly in the presence of heavy perspiration, poor hygiene, or the hormonal changes related to pregnancy. Synonym: venereal wart See: illustration


A variety of therapies, including topically applied chemicals such as podophyllin (10% to 25% in compound tincture of benzoine), trichloroacetic acid, or dichloroacetic acid usually remove small warts; other treatments include CO2 laser therapy, cryosurgery, electrocautery, 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, and recombinant interferon alfa-2a. Nevertheless, there is no completely safe and effective therapy available for genital warts.

Patient care

A history is obtained for unprotected sexual contact with a partner with known infection, a new partner, or multiple partners. Standard precautions are used to examine the patient, to collect a specimen, or to perform associated procedures. The health care professional inspects the genitalia for warts growing on the moist genital surfaces, such as the subpreputial sac, the urethral meatus, and less commonly, the penile shaft or scrotum in male patients and the vulva and vaginal and cervical wall in female patients. Multiple warts have a cauliflower-like appearance. The patient usually reports no other symptoms, as the warts are generally painless, but a few complain of itching and pain. Diagnosis usually is made by visual inspection, but darkfield examination of wart cell scrapings may be used to differentiate HPV warts from those associated with second-stage syphilis. Biopsy is indicated if cancer is suspected. A nonthreatening, nonjudgmental atmosphere is provided to encourage the patient to verbalize feelings about perceived changes in sexual behavior and body image. Sexual abstinence or condom use during intercourse is recommended until healing is complete. The patient must inform sexual partners about the risk for genital warts and the need for evaluation. The patient should be tested for human immunodeficiency virus and for other sexually transmitted diseases. Genital warts can recur and the virus can mutate, causing warts of a different strain. The patient should report for weekly treatment until all warts are removed and then schedule a checkup for 3 months after all warts have disappeared. If podophyllin is applied, the patient is taught to remove it with soap and water 4 to 6 hrs after the application. Female patients should have a Papanicolaou test on a schedule recommended by their health care providers.

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plantar wart

A wart on a pressure-bearing area, esp. the sole of the foot. Synonym: verruca plantaris
See: illustration

seborrheic wart

Seborrheic keratosis.

venereal wart

Genital wart.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


, pl. verrucae (vĕr-ū'kă, -kē)
Flesh-colored growth characterized by circumscribed hypertrophy of papillae of corium, with thickening of malpighian, granular, and keratin epidermal layers, caused by human papillomavirus; also applied to epidermal verrucous tumors of nonviral etiology.
Synonym(s): wart.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012