bot·​u·​li·​num | \ ˌbä-chə-ˈlī-nəm How to pronounce botulinum (audio) \
variants: or less commonly botulinus \ ˌbä-​chə-​ˈlī-​nəs How to pronounce botulinus (audio) \

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 How to pronounce botulinal (audio) \ adjective

Examples of botulinum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Last year, his team reported in The Prostate that in four men with prostate tumors, injecting the nerve toxin botulinum into one side of the tumor prompted more cancer cells to die there than on the untreated side. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "How the body’s nerves become accomplices in the spread of cancer," 12 Sep. 2019 To accumulate the deadly dose of 70 micrograms of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) from cosmetic sources would re-quire purchasing more than 14,000 vials. The Editors, Scientific American, "Readers Respond to "Is Time an Illusion?" and Other Articles," 1 Oct. 2010 Pound for pound — or nanogram for nanogram, as is the case — the neurotoxin botulinum, produced by bacteria, is the deadliest substance known. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Poison," 25 Sep. 2018 The toxin that leads to botulism is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum or sometimes strains of Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii, as SELF reported previously. Korin Miller, SELF, "Del Monte Recalls Canned Corn Over Concerns It Could Cause ‘Life-Threatening Illness'," 14 Dec. 2018 The Novichok nerve agents’ estimated LD50 may be as low as 4,000 ng/kg — deadlier than tetradotoxin, but nowhere close to botulinum’s lethality. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Poison," 25 Sep. 2018 As dangerous as botulinum is, precise medical applications in tiny doses — best known as Botox — can treat several conditions, including incontinence, strabismus (crossed eyes) and, of course, wrinkles. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Poison," 25 Sep. 2018 The potentially fatal form of food poisoning results from the growth of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), the United States Center for Disease Control states. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "Taco Bell has just issued a warning for its popular salsa con queso.," 25 July 2018 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

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

The first known use of botulinum was in 1916

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Cite this Entry

“Botulinum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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bot·​u·​li·​num | \ ˌbäch-ə-ˈlī-nəm How to pronounce botulinum (audio) \
variants: also botulinus \ -​nəs How to pronounce botulinus (audio) \

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 How to pronounce botulinal (audio) \ adjective

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