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 Marine Le Pen, the founder’s daughter, worked assiduously to detoxify its brand, putting an emphasis on bread-and-butter issues, distancing herself from some of the party’s most extreme stands and even ejecting her father in 2015. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2024 Good salt, like Himalayan salt, offers anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties and includes up to 84 trace minerals that support bodily functions. Alessandra Signorelli, Vogue, 5 July 2024 Volcanic facials are famous for their impactful detoxifying impurities. Celeste Polanco, Essence, 27 June 2024 Ultimately, the most important thing that America can do in the world is detoxify its own democracy, which is the main reason a Trump victory would be so dangerous. Ben Rhodes, Foreign Affairs, 18 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for detoxify 

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

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Dictionary Entries Near detoxify

Cite this Entry

“Detoxify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detoxify. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

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
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