chemical warfare


Definition of chemical warfare

: tactical warfare using substances (such as incendiary mixtures, smoke, or gases) with irritant, burning, poisonous, or asphyxiating properties There were other isolated instances of chemical warfare. The Greeks used a gas attack with sulphur fumes at the siege of Delium in 424 B.C.— Bernard and Fawn M. Brodie The forswearing of chemical warfare by the major combatants in World War II foreshadowed the later nuclear "balance of terror," during the Cold War.— Clifford F. Beal

Examples of chemical warfare in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Working largely on his own, without institutional support, Mr. Kick filed FOIA requests to obtain documents related to U.S. biological and chemical warfare programs, U.S. Border Patrol facilities, animal experimentation and a host of other issues. Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2021 The exercise features a bioterrorism attack in Denver, a chemical warfare attack in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and other activities in Washington. CNN, 6 Sep. 2021 The solution is an escalation on our part — chemical warfare. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, 29 June 2021 The allegations prompted the United States to accuse what was then the Soviet Union and its allies of chemical warfare. Katie Hunt, CNN, 20 May 2021 Phosphine has been used as a fumigant or a chemical warfare agent, but that wasn’t why Sousa-Silva was interested in it. Eva Amsen, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2021 Gordon says his past in the U.S. Army, working as a nuclear and biological chemical warfare specialist, led him to question the role of face masks in preventing transmission of the coronavirus. Mary Colurso |, al, 22 Dec. 2020 Slick government videos showed soldiers in chemical warfare suits striding through empty streets, spraying disinfectant. Declan Walsh, New York Times, 11 Nov. 2020 Phosphine is poisonous to many animals, and the colorless, flammable gas has been used in chemical warfare and by farmers to snuff out tenacious pests. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 14 Sep. 2020

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

1910, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for chemical warfare

Time Traveler

The first known use of chemical warfare was in 1910

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Statistics for chemical warfare

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chemical warfare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for chemical warfare

chemical warfare


English Language Learners Definition of chemical warfare

: the use of chemical substances (such as poisonous gases) as weapons in a war

chemical warfare


Medical Definition of chemical warfare

: tactical warfare using incendiary mixtures, smokes, or irritant, burning, poisonous, or asphyxiating gases

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