A distinguishing mark, usually a reddy patch of skin or an unusual mole, that a person has from birth. A significant minority of the population has a birthmark of some sort.

Famous birthmarks:
- Mikhail Gorbachev had a large red birthmark on his head, very visible once he went bald. (My parents named their cat Gorby because of his unusual head markings..)
- A boy in Lord of the Flies who is identified only as the boy with the mulberry (coloured) mark, who mysteriously disappears without a trace after the first confusing night the boys spend on the island.
- more?

There are two main types of birthmarks: congenital pigmented skin markings and nevi (moles). Most birthmarks are nothing more then a marking, they may be unpleasent to the birthmarkee (even having psychological effects if prominent enough), but they have no medical ramifications. Some birthmarks however, such as congenital nevi, should be checked out as they have a higher then normal possibility of becoming cancerous.

Permanent birthmarks may be treated with cryotherapy, surgical removal, or laser surgery. People usally wait until their child is at least school age because birthmarks normally fade. Port wine stains appearing on the face are sometimes treated at a young age with a yellow pulsed dye laser, removing them or at least fading the stain in a futile attempt to avoid the meaness of children.

Birth"mark` (?), n.

Some peculiar mark or blemish on the body at birth.

Most part of this noble lineage carried upon their body for a natural birthmark, . . . a snake. Sir T. North.

 

© Webster 1913.

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