detoxify

verb

de·​tox·​i·​fy (ˌ)dē-ˈtäk-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce detoxify (audio)
detoxified; detoxifying

transitive verb

1
a
: to remove a harmful substance (such as a poison or toxin) or the effect of such from
b
: to render (a harmful substance) harmless
2
: to free (someone, such as a drug user or an alcoholic) from an intoxicating or an addictive substance in the body or from dependence on or addiction to such a substance
3

Did you know?

These days, detoxify can mean to free (someone) from a substance addiction (and yes, it's the source of detox, a more recent word that also refers to getting drugs or alcohol out of a person's system). Originally, however, detoxification was something done to things rather than to people. In its earliest uses - from about 1905 - detoxify referred to the removal of poison, or of poisonous or damaging properties, from a harmful substance, or to the removal of poisonous or toxic substances from something contaminated (such as the bloodstream).The specific application to removing poison from an addict is relatively new, dating to the mid-20th century. Today, detoxify is also often used generally in reference to counteracting the activity or effect of anything harmful (such as propaganda).

Examples of detoxify in a Sentence

a special tea that is supposed to detoxify the body a drug addict who is being detoxified
Recent Examples on the Web It's made with pure shea butter, detoxifying moringa seed oil, and soothing aloe leaf juice to revitalize itchy, dull, and flaky skin. Emily Shiffer, Women's Health, 9 Sep. 2023 The Clean Greens Face Mask detoxifies my skin and clean out my pores while the Papaya Bright Mask takes me back to the islands and leaves my skin bright. Gabrielle Tazewell, ELLE, 26 May 2023 Chlorophyll Water: Ideal for skin-conscious individuals, this variant is rich in chlorophyll, known for its detoxifying properties and potential skin benefits. Hilary Tetenbaum, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2023 Opt for natural detoxifying ingredients like cilantro, ginger, and turmeric. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 13 Aug. 2023 The organ produces cholesterol and has a critical role in detoxifying blood and balancing blood sugar. Kim Tingley, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2023 Tula Skin Care's Detox in a Jar Exfoliating Treatment is an exfoliating mask that helps detoxify and brighten your skin. Lindsay Modglin, Verywell Health, 11 Aug. 2023 Enter: the Know Beauty Glacial Bay Clay Mask, which works to brighten, detoxify skin, and minimize the appearance of pores. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 11 July 2023 Some potential solutions that could aid in detoxification include: Detox drinks: These beverages are specifically formulated to support toxin removal and may contain ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts known for their detoxifying properties. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 31 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of detoxify was circa 1905

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near detoxify

Cite this Entry

“Detoxify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detoxify. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Medical Definition

detoxify

verb
de·​tox·​i·​fy (ˈ)dē-ˈtäk-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce detoxify (audio)
detoxified; detoxifying

transitive verb

1
a
: to remove a poison or toxin or the effect of such from
b
: to render (a harmful substance) harmless
2
: to free (as a drug user or an alcoholic) from an intoxicating or an addictive substance in the body or from dependence on or addiction to such a substance
the clinic started detoxifying him by gradually lowering his dosageJ. M. Markham

intransitive verb

: to become free of addiction to a drug or alcohol
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!