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 \ -​jə-​ˈni-​sə-​tē \ noun

Examples of carcinogen in a Sentence

Cigarette smoke contains known carcinogens.

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Certain species of this mold may produce a deadly carcinogen called aflatoxins. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "How To ID The Different Kinds Of Mold In Your House—And Their Cause," 17 Sep. 2018 More: Monsanto shedding name: Bayer acquisition leads to change for environmental lightning rod The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gone back and forth on considering glyphosate a possible carcinogen. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Lawsuits alleging weed killer Roundup caused cancer given green light by San Francisco judge," 11 July 2018 In addition to disease-causing bacteria and even carcinogens, Flint's drinking water was loaded with lead. CBS News, "The Flint water crisis: A loss of trust," 17 June 2018 Glyphosate is also listed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable human carcinogen. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Monsanto's Roundup Is on Trial. The Charge: Causing Cancer," 10 July 2018 The end result: Fewer carcinogens and the cancer-fighting antioxidants in plant foods. Andrea Thelen, Ms, Detroit Free Press, "6 tips for healthy and safe grilling," 9 July 2018 Teenagers who use e-cigarettes are ingesting many of the same carcinogens found in regular cigarettes, according to a study published recently in the medical journal Pediatrics. Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "Carcinogens found in regular cigarettes are in e-cigarettes, too, study finds," 28 May 2018 Prop 65 requires businesses with at least 10 employees to disclose any carcinogens and toxic chemicals in their products. Ben Guarino And Eli Rosenberg,, "Coffee drinkers, don't fret over California cancer warning," 4 Apr. 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

15 Nov 2018

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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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Comments on carcinogen

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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