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

Definition of cyanide

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

Examples of cyanide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dogs don’t grind their teeth to chew, so the small amount of cyanide in the pits and seeds isn’t much of a worry in terms of poisoning, Wismer said. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 Earlier this month, a judge denied a request by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix to bar the state from using cyanide gas to carry out executions in Arizona. CBS News, 21 Apr. 2022 What the bombs spare often sops up cyanide, which local fishers squirt into the nooks and crannies of reefs to stun small fish and sell them in the aquarium trade. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, 4 Nov. 2021 The Arizona Department of Corrections refurbished its gas chamber and bought ingredients to create cyanide gas in December 2020, according to records obtained by the Guardian. Paul Best, Fox News, 21 Feb. 2022 On March 22, 2020, the indictment alleges, Giannakakis removed items from the second storage unit including the cyanide in the backpack and went back to Sweden. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2022 That resulted in the discharge of cyanide and ammonia-nitrogen into the river and Lake Michigan. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 15 Feb. 2022 The company also agreed in writing to promptly inform nearby communities and Indiana Dunes National Park if the plant’s operators exceed limits on cyanide released into the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. Chicago Tribune Staff,, 15 Feb. 2022 Gordon-Levitt, 40, will embody cult leader Jim Jones, who as the head of the Peoples Temple led more than 900 of his followers to die by suicide by drinking cyanide-laced punch in a remote commune in South America, PEOPLE confirms. Dan Heching,, 3 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of cyanide

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cyanide

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for cyanide

Time Traveler

The first known use of cyanide was in 1826

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Dictionary Entries Near cyanide



cyanide mill

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Statistics for cyanide

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cyanide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cyanide


cy·​a·​nide | \ ˈsī-ə-ˌnīd How to pronounce cyanide (audio) \

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 How to pronounce cyanide (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on cyanide

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


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