bot·​u·​lism | \ ˈbä-chə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce botulism (audio) \

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 In a procedure called the Nefertiti Lift, injections of botulism toxin help relax the platysma muscle and provide more definition to your jaw. Kaitlyn Pirie, Good Housekeeping, "What Causes a Double Chin and How to Get Rid of It, According to a Plastic Surgeon," 7 Jan. 2020 One case of wound botulism, another bacterial infection associated with black tar heroin use, was also confirmed in October, the agency said. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Flesh-eating bacteria tied to black tar heroin use kills 7 in San Diego, health officials say," 5 Dec. 2019 Officials believe the birds were likely killed by Type E botulism and washed ashore this week. Detroit Free Press, "More than 2 dozen dead loons wash up at beach near Sleeping Bear Dunes," 18 Oct. 2019 Officials will continue to monitor for signs of diseases, including botulism, which is caused by rotting carcasses, in order to protect the surviving bird population. Fox News, "SEE IT: Thousands of birds killed during hailstorm at Montana wildlife preserve," 20 Aug. 2019 Tins of salmon caviar distributed in at least four U.S. states and possibly in Canada are being recalled because they may be tainted with toxin that can cause botulism, which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Salmon caviar recalled due to botulism fears," 16 Aug. 2019 Despite the botulism association, Botox skyrocketed in popularity and continues to be the most popular non-surgical solution for combating wrinkles, as well as a treatment for chronic migraines and excessive sweating. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, "Forehead Botox: The Cost, Benefits, and Everything Else to Know," 22 July 2019 Stink flipper and other traditionally fermented foods, for example, carry a risk of botulism. Anchorage Daily News, "Tradition, culture, and the healing power of community," 18 June 2019 Alaska has by far the highest rate of botulism in the United States—there are 800 times more cases per capita there—and some have been linked to eating stranded, decaying, or fermented whale and seal. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "More people are eating marine animals—with deadly results," 22 May 2019

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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Statistics for botulism

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Botulism.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

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How to pronounce botulism (audio)

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 How to pronounce botulism (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on botulism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with botulism

Spanish Central: Translation of botulism

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

Comments on botulism

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


to assert without proof or before proving

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