cy·​a·​nide | \ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd, -nəd\

Definition of cyanide 

1 : a compound of cyanogen with a more electropositive element or group: such as

a : potassium cyanide

b : sodium cyanide

Examples of cyanide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Hoffmann killed herself one night by drinking a martini laced with cyanide, Flagg writes. Alexandra Wolfe, WSJ, "I Want You…to Solve the Mystery of the Missing Nude," 10 Oct. 2018 Back then, an 8-year-old died after eating Pixy Stix laced with cyanide. German Lopez, Vox, "The myth of poisoned Halloween candy," 31 Oct. 2018 Dilton took a combination of cyanide and some blue Kool-Aide-like beverage, which is what ultimately killed him. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About the "Riverdale" Season 3 Flashback Episode," 19 Oct. 2018 The comet's green glow is due to cyanide and carbon molecules becoming ionized by the warmth of the sun. Temi Adebowale, Popular Mechanics, "Look Up! You Might Be Able to See a Green Comet Tonight," 7 Aug. 2018 But for many, there’s concern about safety: Don’t cherry pits contain cyanide? Jean Nick, Good Housekeeping, "Are Stone Fruit Seeds Poisonous?," 25 July 2018 Actually, Charlier’s team concluded, Hitler most probably died with his wife while hiding in his Berlin bunker, quite possibly after swallowing a cyanide pill and then shooting himself in the head for good measure. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Scientists say Hitler died in WWII. Tell that to ‘Adolf Schuttelmayor’ and the Nazi moon base.," 20 May 2018 After a cyanide attack last October at a ZANU PF rally, Mnangagwa had to be airlifted to South Africa for treatment. Chipo Dendere, Washington Post, "Zimbabwe has an election coming up. Is political violence brewing?," 2 July 2018 Tran died after being attacked and injected with cyanide on Valentine's Day 2017. Fox News, "Trial delay refused for murder suspect on hunger strike," 13 June 2018

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

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cyanide

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Statistics for cyanide

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for cyanide

The first known use of cyanide was in 1826

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English Language Learners Definition of cyanide

: a very poisonous chemical


cy·​a·​nide | \ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd \

Kids Definition of cyanide

: any of several compounds containing carbon and nitrogen and including two very poisonous substances


cy·​a·​nide | \ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd, -nəd \

Medical Definition of cyanide 

: any of several compounds (as potassium cyanide) that contain the radical CN having a chemical valence of one, react with and inactivate respiratory enzymes, and are rapidly lethal producing drowsiness, tachycardia, coma, and finally death

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More from Merriam-Webster on cyanide

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cyanide

Spanish Central: Translation of cyanide

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

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