cy·​a·​nide ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd How to pronounce cyanide (audio)
: a compound of cyanogen with a more electropositive element or group: such as

Examples of cyanide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the past, elephants have died in Zimbabwe from drought, starvation or anthrax during hot and dry seasons, as well as from cyanide poisoning. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 Read full article In 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died after ingesting Tylenol laced with cyanide, and Lewis was the longtime suspect in their deaths. John R. Ellement,, 10 July 2023 Apricot seeds contain amygdalin which converts to cyanide, so eating them could lead to cyanide poisoning. Alyssa Hui, Verywell Health, 31 July 2023 But hazardous amounts of lead, mercury, cyanide, and cadmium remained in the ground. David Gelles Erin Schaff, New York Times, 19 July 2023 Be forewarned: The berries can’t be eaten raw, as the plant has lectin and cyanide in it, which can cause intense stomach and lower intestine issues. Deanna Kizis, Sunset Magazine, 5 Apr. 2023 Much tastier than razors and cyanide! Vegan Walking Taco There's plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 17 Aug. 2023 All 14 of the deceased – as well as one survivor – were poisoned with cyanide, Surachate said. Sararat, who was remanded in custody last week, has denied the accusations, National Police Chief Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas added at the same press conference. Tara Subramaniam, CNN, 4 May 2023 Prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge against James Toliver Craig in Arapahoe County District Court, accusing him of having laced Angela Craig's drinks with arsenic and cyanide. Daniella Silva, NBC News, 23 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cyanide.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cyanide was in 1826

Dictionary Entries Near cyanide

Cite this Entry

“Cyanide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


cy·​a·​nide ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd How to pronounce cyanide (audio)
: a very poisonous compound consisting of carbon and nitrogen with either sodium or potassium

Medical Definition


cy·​a·​nide ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd, -nəd How to pronounce cyanide (audio)
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on cyanide

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