Definition of mithridate
: an antidote against poison; especially : a confection held to be effective against poison
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The History Behind mithridate
Mithridates the Great was the tyrannical king of Pontus (an ancient kingdom in Northeast Asia Minor) from 120 to 63 B.C.E. He was killed by a Gallic mercenary whose services he himself engaged after failing to poison himself following an insurrection by his troops. Supposedly, his suicide was unsuccessful because he had made himself immune to poison by taking small doses of it since childhood in an attempt to avoid the fate of assassination by poison. The story of Mithridates' tolerance is behind the English word mithridate, which dates to the early 16th century, as well as the word mithridatism, defined as "tolerance to a poison acquired by taking gradually increased doses of it."
Origin and Etymology of mithridate
Medieval Latin mithridatum, from Late Latin mithridatium, from Latin, dogtooth violet (used as an antidote), from Greek mithridation, from Mithridatēs Mithridates VI
First Known Use: 1528See Words from the same year
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