bot·​u·​lism | \ˈbä-chə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of botulism 

: acute food poisoning that is caused by botulinum toxin produced in food by a bacterial clostridium (Clostridium botulinum) and is characterized by muscle weakness and paralysis, disturbances of vision, swallowing, and speech, and a high mortality rate

Examples of botulism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The group hoarded automatic weapons and recruited scientists as members to help develop chemical and biological weapons including sarin, VX, botulism and anthrax, according to Japan's National Police Agency. Author: Stuart Biggs, Gearoid Reidy, Anchorage Daily News, "Japan executes cult leader and 6 others for deadly 1995 sarin attack," 6 July 2018 The packing water for one lot Gerard & Dominique Seafoods Cold Smoked Wild Coho Salmon Lox could allow botulism to flourish, leading to a recall on Wednesday. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Watch what you put on your bagel — this fish has a botulism risk | Miami Herald," 2 May 2018 The lawsuit said North Korea falsely claimed Mr. Warmbier contracted botulism and then was given a sleeping pill. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Otto Warmbier’s Parents Respond to U.S.-North Korea Summit," 12 June 2018 Every 10 weeks, Sundquist gets 32 bee sting–like injections of the nerve-numbing botulism toxin into her face and neck. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Will antibodies finally put an end to migraines?," 18 May 2018 North Korea claimed Warmbier fell into a coma that resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill. CBS News, "Parents of slain student Otto Warmbier sue North Korea over son's death," 27 Apr. 2018 Investigators also found castor beans, which naturally produce ricin, and a jar labeled as containing botulism. Aimee Green,, "Man who flung ricin-laced meat at neighbor's dogs agrees to pay $80k," 23 Apr. 2018 Adding moist components to the oil increases the risk of botulism (this is especially true of garlic). Becky Krystal, charlotteobserver, "Fresh herbs will be here soon: Here’s how to make the best of them | Charlotte Observer," 17 Apr. 2018 San Diego saw a cluster of four wound botulism cases in 2017 and five in 2010. Paul Sisson,, "Wound botulism hospitalizes three black tar heroin users," 10 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'botulism.' 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 botulism

1896, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of botulism was in 1896

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English Language Learners Definition of botulism

: a serious illness that is caused by eating food that has not been preserved correctly and that is filled with bacteria


bot·​u·​lism | \ˈbäch-ə-ˌliz-əm \

Medical Definition of botulism 

: acute food poisoning caused by botulinum toxin produced in food by a bacterium of the genus Clostridium (C. botulinum) and characterized by muscle weakness and paralysis, disturbances of vision, swallowing, and speech, and a high mortality rate — see botulinum toxin, limberneck

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with botulism

Spanish Central: Translation of botulism

Nglish: Translation of botulism for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about botulism

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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