Ask Difference

Wart vs. Boil — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 27, 2023
A wart is a small, rough growth resembling a cauliflower or a solid blister, typically caused by HPV. A boil is a painful, pus-filled bump under the skin caused by infected, inflamed hair follicles.
Wart vs. Boil — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Wart and Boil

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Key Differences

A wart is essentially a benign skin growth caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. It typically resembles a solid blister or a small cauliflower. Conversely, a boil, or skin abscess, is a localized infection deep in the skin, initiated around a hair follicle or an oil gland, characterized by a painful, red, pus-filled bump.
Warts are usually harmless and may disappear on their own over time but can be contagious. They can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. Boils, on the other hand, are not typically spread from person to person. However, the bacteria that create boils can spread, leading to more boils in the same individual.
The treatment for warts and boils differs significantly. Warts often require no treatment but can be removed through over-the-counter medications, cryotherapy, or surgical removal if they become bothersome. Boils, however, typically need to drain, and severe or recurring cases might necessitate medical intervention, including incision, drainage, and antibiotics.
In terms of occurrence, warts commonly appear on the hands, feet, and other areas of the skin and mucous membranes. Boils tend to develop in areas of the body that experience friction or are prone to sweat and dirt accumulation, such as the neck, face, thighs, armpits, buttocks, and nose.
Appearance-wise, warts are often skin-colored, rough to the touch, and small, with black pinpoints. Boils, alternatively, appear as red, tender, and swollen areas on the skin, usually with a visible pus-filled center, growing larger and more painful until they rupture and drain.
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Comparison Chart

Cause

Caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Caused by bacterial infection, usually Staphylococcus.

Appearance

Small, rough, skin-colored, resembles a cauliflower.
Red, tender, swollen, pus-filled bump.

Contagiousness

Can be contagious.
The bacteria causing it can spread.

Treatment

Cryotherapy, over-the-counter medications, or surgical removal.
May require drainage, antibiotics, or surgical intervention.

Location

Hands, feet, and mucous membranes are common.
Common in areas prone to friction, sweat, and dirt accumulation.

Compare with Definitions

Wart

A small, benign growth on the skin or mucous membranes caused by a virus.
The wart on her hand was quite noticeable.

Boil

A painful, pus-filled bump under the skin caused by an infected, inflamed hair follicle.
He had a large, painful boil on his neck.

Wart

A contagious, usually painless skin lesion.
He accidentally spread the wart to his other hand.

Boil

An inflamed, painful bump usually caused by bacterial infection, especially Staphylococcus.
The boil ruptured, releasing pus and reducing the pain.

Wart

A viral infection manifesting as a solid blister on the skin.
She was embarrassed by the wart on her finger.

Boil

A boil, also called a furuncle, is a deep folliculitis, infection of the hair follicle. It is most commonly caused by infection by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, resulting in a painful swollen area on the skin caused by an accumulation of pus and dead tissue.

Wart

Warts are typically small, rough, hard growths that are similar in color to the rest of the skin. They typically do not result in other symptoms, except when on the bottom of the feet, where they may be painful.

Boil

(with reference to a liquid) reach or cause to reach the temperature at which it bubbles and turns to vapour
We asked people to boil their drinking water
He waited for the water to boil

Wart

A hard rough lump growing on the skin, caused by infection with certain viruses and occurring typically on the hands or feet.

Boil

(with reference to food) cook or be cooked by immersing in boiling water or stock
Make the sauce while the lobsters are boiling
Boil the potatoes until well done

Wart

A similar growth or protuberance, as on a plant.

Boil

(of the sea or clouds) be turbulent and stormy
A huge cliff with the black sea boiling below

Wart

A genital wart.

Boil

The temperature at which a liquid bubbles and turns to vapour
Bring the sauce to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes

Wart

One that resembles or is likened to a wart, especially in unattractiveness or smallness.

Boil

A casual outdoor meal at which shellfish is prepared by boiling
The reappearance of warm days signals another revival: weekend crawfish boils

Wart

An imperfection; a flaw.

Boil

An inflamed pus-filled swelling on the skin, caused typically by the infection of a hair follicle.

Wart

(pathology) A type of deformed growth occurring on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Boil

To change from a liquid to a vapor by the application of heat
All the water boiled away and left the kettle dry.

Wart

Any similar growth occurring in plants or animals, such as the parotoid glands in the back of toads.

Boil

To reach the boiling point.

Wart

Any of the prefixes used in Hungarian notation.

Boil

To undergo the action of boiling, especially in being cooked.

Wart

A small, usually hard, tumor on the skin formed by enlargement of its vascular papillæ, and thickening of the epidermis which covers them.

Boil

To be in a state of agitation; seethe
A river boiling over the rocks.

Wart

An excrescence or protuberance more or less resembling a true wart; specifically (Bot.), a glandular excrescence or hardened protuberance on plants.

Boil

To be stirred up or greatly excited, especially in anger
The mere idea made me boil.

Wart

Any small rounded protuberance (as on certain plants or animals)

Boil

To vaporize (a liquid) by the application of heat.

Wart

(pathology) a firm abnormal elevated blemish on the skin; caused by a virus

Boil

To heat to the boiling point.

Wart

A rough, cauliflower-like growth typically caused by HPV.
He decided to get the wart on his foot removed.

Boil

To cook or clean by boiling.

Wart

A skin-colored bump, often with black pinpoints, appearing predominantly on hands or feet.
The wart was small but rough to the touch.

Boil

To separate by evaporation in the process of boiling
Boil the maple sap.

Boil

The condition or act of boiling.

Boil

Lower Southern US A picnic featuring shrimp, crab, or crayfish boiled in large pots with spices, and then shelled and eaten by hand.

Boil

An agitated, swirling, roiling mass of liquid
"Those tumbling boils show a dissolving bar and a changing channel there" (Mark Twain).

Boil

A painful, circumscribed pus-filled inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissue usually caused by a local staphylococcal infection. Also called furuncle.

Boil

A localized accumulation of pus in the skin, resulting from infection.

Boil

The point at which fluid begins to change to a vapour; the boiling point.
Add the noodles when the water comes to the boil.

Boil

A dish of boiled food, especially based on seafood.

Boil

The collective noun for a group of hawks.

Boil

A bubbling.

Boil

To heat to the point where it begins to turn into a gas.
Boil some water in a pan.

Boil

(ambitransitive) To cook in boiling water.
Boil the eggs for three minutes.
Is the rice boiling yet?

Boil

To begin to turn into a gas, seethe.
Pure water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.

Boil

To bring to a boil, to heat so as to cause the contents to boil.

Boil

To be uncomfortably hot.
It’s boiling outside!

Boil

To feel uncomfortably hot.
I’m boiling in here – could you open the window?

Boil

(transitive) To form, or separate, by boiling or evaporation.
To boil sugar or salt

Boil

(obsolete) To steep or soak in warm water.

Boil

To be agitated like boiling water; to bubble; to effervesce.
The boiling waves of the sea

Boil

To be agitated, or tumultuously moved, as a liquid by the generation and rising of bubbles of steam (or vapor), or of currents produced by heating it to the boiling point; to be in a state of ebullition; as, the water boils.

Boil

To be agitated like boiling water, by any other cause than heat; to bubble; to effervesce; as, the boiling waves.
He maketh the deep to boil like a pot.

Boil

To pass from a liquid to an aëriform state or vapor when heated; as, the water boils away.

Boil

To be in boiling water, as in cooking; as, the potatoes are boiling.

Boil

To heat to the boiling point, or so as to cause ebullition; as, to boil water.

Boil

To form, or separate, by boiling or evaporation; as, to boil sugar or salt.

Boil

To subject to the action of heat in a boiling liquid so as to produce some specific effect, as cooking, cleansing, etc.; as, to boil meat; to boil clothes.
The stomach cook is for the hall,And boileth meate for them all.

Boil

To steep or soak in warm water.
To try whether seeds be old or new, the sense can not inform; but if you boil them in water, the new seeds will sprout sooner.

Boil

Act or state of boiling.

Boil

A painful sore with a hard pus-filled core

Boil

The temperature at which a liquid boils at sea level;
The brought to water to a boil

Boil

Come to the boiling point and change from a liquid to vapor;
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius

Boil

Cook in boiling liquid;
Boil potatoes

Boil

Bring to, or maintain at, the boiling point;
Boil this liquid until it evaporates

Boil

Be agitated;
The sea was churning in the storm

Boil

Be in an agitated emotional state;
The customer was seething with anger

Boil

A localized skin infection typically filled with pus.
She used a warm compress to relieve the pain from the boil.

Boil

A red, swollen, tender area on the skin, usually developing around hair follicles or oil glands.
He needed medical attention to drain the boil.

Boil

A skin abscess that can grow larger and more painful until it ruptures and drains.
She was relieved when the boil finally drained.

Common Curiosities

What is a boil typically filled with?

A boil is typically filled with pus due to an infection.

Can warts spread to other parts of the body?

Yes, warts can be contagious and spread to other parts of the body and to other people.

Is a boil caused by a bacterial infection?

Yes, a boil is usually caused by a bacterial infection, often by Staphylococcus.

How does a wart typically appear?

A wart typically appears as a small, rough, skin-colored growth, often with black pinpoints.

Are warts usually painful?

Warts are usually painless, but can be painful depending on their location.

Are boils painful?

Yes, boils are painful, especially as they grow larger before rupturing.

Can warts disappear over time?

Yes, warts can disappear on their own over time.

Can a boil develop around a hair follicle?

Yes, a boil often develops around a hair follicle or an oil gland.

What causes a wart?

A wart is caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family.

Do warts usually need treatment?

Many warts do not require treatment but can be removed if bothersome.

How does a boil typically appear?

A boil appears as a red, tender, swollen area on the skin, usually with a visible pus-filled center.

Can warts resemble a cauliflower?

Yes, warts can have a rough, cauliflower-like appearance.

Can boils spread bacteria to other parts of the body?

Yes, the bacteria from boils can spread, causing more boils in other areas.

Do boils need to be drained?

Yes, boils typically need to drain, and severe or recurring ones might require medical intervention.

Can warts be removed surgically?

Yes, warts can be removed surgically if they become bothersome.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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