detoxify

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

Definition of detoxify

transitive verb

1a : 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

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Other Words from detoxify

detoxification \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌtäk-​sə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce detoxification (audio) \ noun

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 Designed to be enjoyed alone or with a partner, their new line features gorgeous bath salts sourced from the Southern Dead Sea, as well as a Coconut Milk Bath that hydrates with coconut milk while detoxifying and boosting circulation with zinc. Vogue, "The Best New Bath Products to Give and Get This Winter," 21 Nov. 2019 But it’s been custom-built to be something more thoughtful: a genuinely touching chronicle of camaraderie, competition and common enterprise that detoxifies masculinity to its purest, most humane elements. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, "From ‘The Irishman’ to Mister Rogers, what it means to be a man is getting real," 29 Nov. 2019 For a detoxifying workout, the heated sessions include Hot Yoga Fundamentals and Power Yoga. orlandosentinel.com, "2019 Orlando Sentinel Best Bets: Beauty & Wellness winners," 6 Oct. 2019 In the 25 January issue of ACS Applied Nano Materials, Farha and his colleagues reported using a MOF to detoxify chemical weapons. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Crystalline nets harvest water from desert air, turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel," 3 Sep. 2019 Authorities have launched multiple lead-prevention operations: cleaning up neighborhood schools, detoxifying surrounding streets, and setting up a stricter decontamination zone for experts working in the cathedral. Washington Post, "World Digest: Aug. 13, 2019," 13 Aug. 2019 The gene causes the chestnut to produce oxalate oxidase, an enzyme that detoxifies the blight’s acid. Julia Rosen, latimes.com, "Should we resurrect the American chestnut tree with genetic engineering?," 25 June 2019 But people and animals with the sickle-cell trait have to break down and detoxify misshapen red blood cells their entire lives. Quanta Magazine, "A New Way to Predict Infection’s Toll," 30 Aug. 2016 For all his faults, David Cameron did a good job of detoxifying the party and recruiting bright young candidates who looked more like modern England. The Economist, "The question is not who will lead the Conservative Party, but whether it will survive," 13 June 2019

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

circa 1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for detoxify

Time Traveler

The first known use of detoxify was circa 1905

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Last Updated

21 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Detoxify.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detoxify. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for detoxify

detoxify

verb
How to pronounce detoxify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of detoxify

: to remove a poisonous or harmful substance from (something)
: to cause (someone) to stop using drugs or alcohol by providing special help and treatment

detoxify

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

Medical Definition of detoxify

transitive verb

1a : 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 dosage— J. M. Markham

intransitive verb

: to become free of addiction to a drug or alcohol

Other Words from detoxify

detoxification \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌtäk-​sə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce detoxification (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on detoxify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detoxify

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