nerve agent

noun

: a toxic, usually odorless organophosphate (such as sarin, tabun, or VX) that is used as a chemical weapon in gaseous or liquid form, disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses, and may cause breathing difficulties, coughing, vomiting, muscle weakness or paralysis, convulsions, coma, and death : nerve gas

Examples of nerve agent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During a business trip in Russia in 2020, Navalny was poisoned with a military nerve agent, Novichok. Dan De Luce, NBC News, 27 Apr. 2024 The regime had tried to kill him before, once poisoning him with a weapons-grade nerve agent that left Navalny comatose for weeks. Simon Shuster / Vilnius, TIME, 17 Apr. 2024 The most significant attack was the nerve agent poisoning. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 Navalny’s wife has blamed Putin for her husband’s death, alleging that he was poisoned on Putin’s orders with the nerve agent Novichok and that his body was held until traces of the poison had disappeared. NBC News, 1 Mar. 2024 Navalny had previously been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, which a CNN-Bellingcat investigation found he had been tailed by a unit of the Russian Security Service (FSB) that specialized in toxins and nerve agents. Christian Edwards, CNN, 14 Mar. 2024 At the same time, Russia’s coercive apparatus went after Mr. Navalny with an increasing ferocity, poisoning him with a nerve agent in 2020, imprisoning him in inhumane conditions and ultimately sending him to a remote former gulag facility above the Arctic Circle. Oleg Matsnev, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2024 Yulia was with him in 2020 after he was evacuated to Germany for treatment for exposure to a nerve agent. Anna Nemtsova, USA TODAY, 24 Feb. 2024 Russian authorities handling the post-mortem investigation of Mr. Navalny’s body are part of the same security apparatus that, according to the U.S. government, used the nerve agent Novichok to poison Mr. Navalny in 2020. Paul Sonne, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nerve agent.' 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

1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nerve agent was in 1953

Dictionary Entries Near nerve agent

Cite this Entry

“Nerve agent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nerve%20agent. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

nerve agent

noun
: a toxic, usually odorless organophosphate (such as sarin, tabun, or VX) that disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses by inhibiting cholinesterase and especially acetylcholinesterase and is used as a chemical weapon in gaseous or liquid form : nerve gas

Note: Nerve agents may be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested in contaminated food or water. Symptoms of exposure include runny nose, increased salivation, sweating, breathing difficulties, coughing, vomiting, muscle weakness or paralysis, convulsions, coma, and respiratory arrest leading to death.

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