noun \ˈpi-zən\

: a substance that can cause people or animals to die or to become very sick if it gets into their bodies especially by being swallowed

: something (such as an idea, emotion, or situation) that is very harmful or unpleasant

Full Definition of POISON

a :  a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism
b (1) :  something destructive or harmful
(2) :  an object of aversion or abhorrence
:  a substance that inhibits the activity of another substance or the course of a reaction or process <a catalyst poison>

Examples of POISON

  1. a jar of rat poison
  2. The killer gave her victims food laced with poison.
  3. suck poison from a snake bite
  4. The villain in the play dies by drinking a vial of poison.
  5. Poverty is a poison to society.

Origin of POISON

Middle English, from Anglo-French poisun drink, potion, poison, from Latin potion-, potio drink — more at potion
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Chemical Engineering Terms

alkali, cation, decant, hygroscopic, isotope, oxidize, slurry, solute, viscous

Rhymes with POISON



: to cause (a person or animal) to die or to become very sick with poison

: to put a harmful or deadly substance in or on (something)

: to change (something) in a very harmful or unpleasant way

poi·sonedpoi·son·ing \ˈpiz-niŋ, ˈpi-zən-iŋ\

Full Definition of POISON

transitive verb
a :  to injure or kill with poison
b :  to treat, taint, or impregnate with or as if with poison
:  to exert a baneful influence on :  corrupt <poisoned their minds>
:  to inhibit the activity, course, or occurrence of <on the night when he poisoned my rest — Charles Dickens>
poi·son·er \ˈpiz-nər, ˈpi-zən-ər\ noun

Examples of POISON

  1. How did the murderer poison the victim?
  2. Hundreds were poisoned from drinking the contaminated water.
  3. He was poisoned with cyanide.
  4. The factory poisoned the air with its fumes.
  5. Illegal dumping of waste is poisoning the stream and killing fish.
  6. He poisoned their minds with hatred for her.
  7. His angry outburst poisoned the atmosphere of the party.
  8. She was working in a hostile environment poisoned by sexist jokes.

First Known Use of POISON

14th century



Definition of POISON

:  poisonous, venomous <a poison plant> <a poison tongue>
:  impregnated with poison :  poisoned <a poison arrow>

Examples of POISON

  1. <the witch gave Snow White a poison apple>

First Known Use of POISON

circa 1520


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any substance (natural or synthetic) that, at a certain dosage, damages living tissues and injures or kills. Poisons spontaneously produced by living organisms are often called toxins, venoms if produced by animals. Poisons may be ingested, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin. They do not always have an all-or-none effect; degrees of poisoning may occur, and at a given dose some substances are far more toxic than others (e.g., a pinch of potassium cyanide can kill, whereas a single dose of ordinary table salt must be massive to kill). Poisoning may be acute (a single dose does significant damage) or chronic (repeated or continuous doses produce an eventual effect, as with chemical carcinogens). The effects produced by poisons may be local (hives, blisters, inflammation) or systemic (hemorrhage, convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, clouding of the senses, paralysis, respiratory or cardiac arrest). Agricultural pesticides are often poisonous to humans. Some industrial chemicals can be very toxic or carcinogenic. Most therapeutic drugs and health-care products can be poisons if taken inappropriately or in excess. Most forms of radiation can be toxic (see radiation injury). See also antidote; arsenic poisoning; fish poisoning; food poisoning; lead poisoning; medicinal poisoning; mercury poisoning; mushroom poisoning.


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