neurotoxin

noun
neu·​ro·​tox·​in | \ ˌnu̇r-ō-ˈtäk-sən How to pronounce neurotoxin (audio) , ˌnyu̇r- \

Definition of neurotoxin

: a poisonous substance (such as tetrodotoxin or saxitoxin) that acts on the nervous system and disrupts the normal function of nerve cells

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Did You Know?

The nervous system is almost all-powerful in the body: all five senses depend on it, as do breathing, digestion, and the heart. So it's an obvious target for poisons, and neurotoxins have developed as weapons in many animals, including snakes, bees, and spiders. Some wasps use a neurotoxin to paralyze their prey so that it can be stored alive to be eaten later. Snake venom is often neurotoxic (as in cobras and coral snakes, for example), though it may instead be hemotoxic (as in rattlesnakes and coppermouths), operating on the circulatory system. Artificial neurotoxins, called nerve agents, have been developed by scientists as means of chemical warfare; luckily, few have ever been used.

Examples of neurotoxin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hammerhead worms produce tetrodotoxin, the same deadly neurotoxin produced by pufferfish. Aj Willingham, CNN, "2020 was the year of scary bugs, and 2021 will be even worse," 30 Dec. 2020 The massive snakes, like some fish, could be full of mercury, a neurotoxin that is dangerous to humans. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Wait, snake and eggs for breakfast? Florida might encourage to fight python invasion," 21 Dec. 2020 Lead is a powerful neurotoxin with no safe level of exposure. Tony Barboza Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "California sues to recover costs for Exide lead cleanup, but community still wants justice," 19 Dec. 2020 Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that accumulates in the body and is particularly damaging to young children, causing brain damage, developmental and behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Author: Sarah Kaplan, Brady Dennis, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal lead-pipe rule overhauled for first time in decades," 23 Dec. 2020 The massive snakes, like some fish, could be full of mercury, a neurotoxin that is dangerous to humans. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Wait, snake and eggs for breakfast? Florida might encourage to fight python invasion," 21 Dec. 2020 The massive snakes, like some fish, could be full of mercury, a neurotoxin that is dangerous to humans. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, "Snake and eggs for breakfast? Florida may soon encourage you to eat invasive pythons," 9 Dec. 2020 In the most delicious species, the innards are suffused with the neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin (TTX). New York Times, "The Appealing and Potentially Lethal Delicacy That Is Fugu," 4 Dec. 2020 Domoic acid is a neurotoxin that can be produced by several species of Pseudo-nitzschia, a microalgae that flourishes in nutrient rich warm water and low wind. Tom Mcnamara, Popular Science, "Here’s the real story behind Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’," 3 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of neurotoxin

1902, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for neurotoxin

borrowed from French névrotoxine, from névro- neuro- + toxine toxin

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Time Traveler for neurotoxin

Time Traveler

The first known use of neurotoxin was in 1902

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Statistics for neurotoxin

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neurotoxin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neurotoxin. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for neurotoxin

neurotoxin

noun
neu·​ro·​tox·​in | \ -ˈtäk-sən How to pronounce neurotoxin (audio) \

Medical Definition of neurotoxin

: a poisonous substance (such as tetrodotoxin or saxitoxin) that acts on the nervous system and disrupts the normal function of nerve cells

More from Merriam-Webster on neurotoxin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about neurotoxin

Comments on neurotoxin

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