intoxicate

1 of 2

verb

in·​tox·​i·​cate in-ˈtäk-sə-ˌkāt How to pronounce intoxicate (audio)
intoxicated; intoxicating

transitive verb

1
a
: to excite or stupefy by alcohol or a drug especially to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished
b
: to excite or elate to the point of enthusiasm or frenzy
2
: poison

intoxicate

2 of 2

adjective

in·​tox·​i·​cate in-ˈtäk-si-kət How to pronounce intoxicate (audio)

Did you know?

From scents to songs, many harmless things have the power to intoxicate. At least, that is, by today’s standards. The origins of intoxicate are less inviting. You might have guessed that intoxicate is related to toxic; both words trace back to the Latin noun toxicum, meaning "poison," and the earliest function of intoxicate was as an adjective describing something (such as the tip of an arrow) steeped in or smeared with poison. Toxicum turns up in the etymologies of a number of other English words including intoxicant ("something that intoxicates") and detoxify ("to remove a poison from"), and also in a number of names for various poisons themselves. Happily though, today you’re likelier to be intoxicated by Cupid’s arrow than—one hopes—by a poison dart.

Example Sentences

Verb The little bit of beer I drank was not enough to intoxicate me. the stunning spectacle of this Las Vegas show is sure to intoxicate spectators
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Some pass tests for self-awareness, others seem to intentionally intoxicate themselves. Tom Mustill, Time, 17 Nov. 2022 Add to the meal a glass of wine to softly intoxicate the senses, and relaxation is guaranteed. Michael Alpiner, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2021 The couple moved from Burgundy more than a decade ago, intoxicated by the landscape and the richness of the soil. Sarah Souli, Travel + Leisure, 25 May 2020 The officer talked to the resident, who was clearly intoxicated. John Benson, cleveland, 6 May 2020 This founding and intoxicating discovery needed to be perpetually confirmed, repeated. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2020 Just like the book, the series follows the intoxicating romance between Marianne and Connell, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, living in a small west Ireland town. Jessica Morgan, refinery29.com, 17 Jan. 2020 Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating molecule found in hemp and marijuana. NBC News, 7 Jan. 2020 Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating molecule found in hemp and marijuana. Time, 7 Jan. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intoxicate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Medieval Latin intoxicatus, past participle of intoxicare, from Latin in- + toxicum poison — more at toxic

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

1581, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intoxicate was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near intoxicate

Cite this Entry

“Intoxicate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intoxicate. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

intoxicate

verb

in·​tox·​i·​cate
in-ˈtäk-sə-ˌkāt
intoxicated; intoxicating
1
: to affect by alcohol or a drug especially to the point where physical and mental control is much reduced
2
: to excite to enthusiasm or frenzy

Medical Definition

intoxicate

transitive verb

in·​tox·​i·​cate -sə-ˌkāt How to pronounce intoxicate (audio)
intoxicated; intoxicating
1
: poison
2
: to excite or stupefy by alcohol or a drug especially to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished

Legal Definition

intoxicate

transitive verb

in·​tox·​i·​cate in-ˈtäk-sə-ˌkāt How to pronounce intoxicate (audio)
intoxicated; intoxicating
: to excite or stupefy by alcohol or a drug especially to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished see also driving under the influence

More from Merriam-Webster on intoxicate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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