car·​cin·​o·​gen | \ kär-ˈsi-nə-jən, ˈkär-sə-nə-ˌjen \

Definition of carcinogen 

: a substance or agent causing cancer

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Other Words from carcinogen

carcinogenic \ ˌkär-​sə-​nō-​ˈje-​nik \ adjective
carcinogenicity \ ˌkär-​sə-​nō-​jə-​ˈni-​sə-​tē \ noun

Examples of carcinogen in a Sentence

Cigarette smoke contains known carcinogens.

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s no way that apple-pie and fresh vanilla ice cream scent doesn’t contain carcinogens right? Sam Gutierrez, House Beautiful, "Are Your Favorite Candles Slowly Poisoning You?," 26 Dec. 2018 Investigators looked for heavy metals and markers for carcinogens that could raise the risk of cancer. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Is vaping better than smoking? Scientists studied pee to find out," 14 Dec. 2018 When houses and structures begin to burn, as is happening in California right now, the materials inside—cleaning supplies, plastic furniture and appliances, diesel tanks—can produce toxic gases and carcinogens. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "The Dangerous Health Risks That Could Follow the California Wildfires," 16 Nov. 2018 Juul was initially designed as a tool to help smokers quit smoking, since the devices don't include tar or deadly carcinogens. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here’s Everything You Need To Know About the Juul Flavor Ban," 15 Nov. 2018 Calabrese and his supporters argue that smaller exposures of cell-damaging radiation and other carcinogens can serve as stressors that activate the body’s repair mechanisms and can make people healthier. Ellen Knickmeyer, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: EPA says a little radiation may be healthy," 2 Oct. 2018 The discovery means that some of the 10 billion pills containing valsartan sold worldwide last year to prevent heart attacks and strokes had traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), classified as a probable human carcinogen. Fox News, "Toxin at heart of drug recall shows holes in medical safety net," 22 Aug. 2018 European safety regulators have come to an opposite conclusion to that of the WHO, determining that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Lawsuit brings $289 million verdict against maker of Roundup weed killer," 11 Aug. 2018 In tobacco there are carcinogens and addictive elements; there’s a mechanism that connects tobacco to easily observable health outcomes. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "What do we actually know about the risks of screen time and digital media?," 17 Oct. 2018

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

1853, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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The first known use of carcinogen was in 1853

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English Language Learners Definition of carcinogen

medical : a substance that can cause cancer


car·​cin·​o·​gen | \ kär-ˈsin-ə-jən, ˈkärs-ᵊn-ə-ˌjen \

Medical Definition of carcinogen 

: a substance or agent causing cancer

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More from Merriam-Webster on carcinogen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carcinogen

Spanish Central: Translation of carcinogen

Nglish: Translation of carcinogen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carcinogen for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about carcinogen

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