bot·​u·​li·​num | \ˌbä-chə-ˈlī-nəm \
variants: or less commonly botulinus \ ˌbä-​chə-​ˈlī-​nəs \

Definition of botulinum 

: a spore-forming bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) that secretes botulinum toxin

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Other Words from botulinum

botulinal \ ˌbä-​chə-​ˈlī-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of botulinum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

On a recent steamy day in Atlanta, Dupree relaxed onto a table in the Emory Brain Center for a botulinum injection. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "The radio man without a voice," 15 June 2018 All three have required intensive care treatment with an anti-toxin that counteracts the effects of a neurotoxin produced by clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes wound botulism. Paul Sisson,, "Wound botulism hospitalizes three black tar heroin users," 10 Apr. 2018 And about that botulism...? Some skeptics fear getting botulism from sous vide foods because the bacteria that causes the disease, C. botulinum, grows in low oxygen conditions. Elaheh Nozari, Bon Appetit, "Is It Safe to Cook With Plastic Bags? And Other Sous Vide Questions, Explained," 14 Feb. 2018 Published Defense Intelligence Agency documents have described efforts underway to weaponize at least four pathogens: anthrax, plague, cholera and biological toxins, such as botulinum. Joby Warrick, Washington Post, "The message behind the murder: North Korea’s assassination sheds light on chemical weapons arsenal," 6 July 2017 C. botulinum spores are commonly found on the surfaces of seafood and most fruits and vegetables. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "What is botulism, and how does it kill?," 25 May 2017 The Type A strain of botulinum toxin found in the nacho cheese is the same type that is cultivated for biological weapons. Aaron Davis, The Mercury News, "Second botulism death unrelated to ‘extremely rare’ nacho cheese botulism," 24 May 2017 Some, such as botulinum and staphylococcus, produce a potent toxin that does the damage. Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "He had fever, night sweats, joint pain: Food poisoning’s other symptoms," 26 June 2017 Botulism is a potent neurotoxin produced by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY, "What is botulism? Comatose U.S. college student Otto Warmbier released by North Korea," 14 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'botulinum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of botulinum

1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for botulinum

New Latin, from Latin botulus sausage

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Time Traveler for botulinum

The first known use of botulinum was in 1916

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More Definitions for botulinum


bot·​u·​li·​num | \ˌbäch-ə-ˈlī-nəm \
variants: also botulinus \ -​nəs \

Medical Definition of botulinum 

: a spore-forming bacterium of the genus Clostridium (C. botulinum) that produces botulinum toxin

Other Words from botulinum

botulinal \ -​ˈlīn-​ᵊl \ adjective

Comments on botulinum

What made you want to look up botulinum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an inexhaustible supply or amount

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