mu·​ta·​gen ˈmyü-tə-jən How to pronounce mutagen (audio)
: an agent (such as a chemical or various radiations) that tends to increase the frequency or extent of mutation
mutagenic adjective
mutagenically adverb

Examples of mutagen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Radiation is not unlike a lot of mutagens and other kinds of events that damage your DNA or damage your body’s immune system. Nicholas Stfleur, STAT, 16 Feb. 2024 Cigarette smoke certainly contains mutagens—more than sixty have been identified—and, by extension, carcinogens. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2023 Fifteen years after swimming in some experimental mutagen ooze as baby turtles, Mikey (Shamon Brown Jr.), Donnie (Micah Abbey), Raph (Brady Noon) and Leo (Nicolas Cantu) live in the sewers with overprotective rat dad Splinter (Jackie Chan). Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 31 July 2023 These chemicals include carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive system and organ toxicants, and skin and respiratory irritants. Joel Tickner, Scientific American, 25 Feb. 2023 That theory was born out more or less at concentrations of the mutagen below 100 mM. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 13 Jan. 2011 The third treatment, molnupiravir, has not shown high efficacy and has the additional drawback, as a mutagen for SARS-CoV-2, of speeding the creation of new and more viral forms of the virus. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Meanwhile at Kaer Morhen: Rience portals in, attacks Vesemir and Triss, and portals away after stealing the witcher mutagen made from Ciri’s Elder blood. Scott Meslow, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 The fallout leads to three samples of an experimental mutagen dropping through the atmosphere and landing on Earth, where a wolf, an alligator, and George are all infected. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, 11 Apr. 2018

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

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary mutation + -gen

First Known Use

1933, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mutagen was in 1933

Dictionary Entries Near mutagen

Cite this Entry

“Mutagen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


mu·​ta·​gen ˈmyüt-ə-jən How to pronounce mutagen (audio)
: a substance (as a chemical or various radiations) that tends to increase the frequency or extent of mutation

More from Merriam-Webster on mutagen

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