poison

noun
poi·​son | \ ˈpȯi-zᵊn \

Definition of poison 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism
b(1) : something destructive or harmful
(2) : an object of aversion or abhorrence
2 : a substance that inhibits the activity of another substance or the course of a reaction or process a catalyst poison

poison

verb
poisoned; poisoning\ ˈpȯiz-​niŋ , ˈpȯi-​zᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of poison (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to injure or kill with poison
b : to treat, taint, or impregnate with or as if with poison
2 : to exert a baneful influence on : corrupt poisoned their minds
3 : to inhibit the activity, course, or occurrence of on the night when he poisoned my rest— Charles Dickens

poison

adjective

Definition of poison (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : poisonous, venomous a poison plant a poison tongue
2 : impregnated with poison : poisoned a poison arrow

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Other Words from poison

Verb

poisoner \ ˈpȯiz-​nər , ˈpȯi-​zᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for poison

Synonyms: Noun

bane, toxic, toxin, venom

Synonyms: Verb

blemish, darken, mar, spoil, stain, taint, tarnish, touch, vitiate

Synonyms: Adjective

envenomed, poisoned, poisonous, toxic, venomous

Antonyms: Adjective

nonpoisonous, nontoxic, nonvenomous

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Examples of poison in a Sentence

Noun

a jar of rat poison The killer gave her victims food laced with poison. suck poison from a snake bite The villain in the play dies by drinking a vial of poison. Poverty is a poison to society.

Verb

How did the murderer poison the victim? Hundreds were poisoned from drinking the contaminated water. He was poisoned with cyanide. The factory poisoned the air with its fumes. Illegal dumping of waste is poisoning the stream and killing fish. He poisoned their minds with hatred for her. His angry outburst poisoned the atmosphere of the party. She was working in a hostile environment poisoned by sexist jokes.

Adjective

the witch gave Snow White a poison apple
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Spray a liberal swath of poison directly into the trench. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Rid of Termites," 8 Jan. 2019 Each mission is full of myriad routes to your objective, planned or not, involving silly disguises and gadgets and truly surprising amounts of rat poison. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Hitman 2 review: Accessible stealth oozing with style," 16 Nov. 2018 In the nearby town of Amesbury, local woman Dawn Sturgess died and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley was sickened after the couple came across remnants of the poison in June. Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Fox News, "Kremlin slams accusations of Russian involvement in ex-spy poisoning, calls them ‘unacceptable’," 6 Sep. 2018 Having feasted more than most on this federal rat poison, Lehman was deeply insolvent, ultimately paying creditors holding $450 billion only 14 cents on the dollar. WSJ, "Considering Lehman’s Failure 10 Years Later," 19 Sep. 2018 The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Senate approves bipartisan opioid legislation, cracking down on shipments Trump called 'almost a form of warfare'," 18 Sep. 2018 All of these organizations received early warnings from brave women that there was poison in the air, and none of them listened. Karla Peterson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The dangers of ignoring the canary in the #MeToo coal mine," 18 June 2018 That sort of outlook in TSR’s flush days was the poison that caused problems like a B3 module, and got up the nose of the product development people. Jim Mclauchlin, WIRED, "The Secret History of the Racy Module That Almost Ruined D&D," 12 June 2018 Part of the issue if Ryan left is that the turmoil in the conference, the war between moderates and conservatives and the likely futile outcome of any immigration debate would be political poison to anyone vying for a leadership role. Lauren Fox And Phil Mattingly, CNN, "Republicans rush to defend Ryan amid rebellion rumors," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Scientists at Porton Down concluded they had been poisoned with Novichok, a type of nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Author: Matt Dunham, Jill Lawless, Anchorage Daily News, "Another mystery illness rocks England after spy’s poisoning," 4 July 2018 What Price should be concerned with is keeping his players’ heads in the game and making sure this early disaster doesn’t poison the whole year. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty blog: Second-guessing season begins for 2018 Cincinnati Reds, Bryan Price," 12 Apr. 2018 The suspect talked about poisoning the child's breast milk that was stored in the refrigerator to get back at her brother and his fiancee for moving in. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "'Why didn't that baby die': Indiana teen who poisoned infant niece's breast milk pleads guilty," 13 Mar. 2018 All along the way, there’s places where toxic pollution is essentially poisoning communities. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 Plus, the person sucking out the venom can swallow some and end up poisoning themselves. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Avoid and Treat Rattlesnake Bites," 9 Nov. 2018 But from the very start, the idea of original sin was caught up with a kind of obsessive interest in and hatred of human sexuality, which poisoned it to the core. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why science can’t replace religion," 4 Nov. 2018 Laboratory testing showed the substance that poisoned them was Novichok, the British government has said, part of a class of nerve agents developed first in the Soviet Union and later in Russia. New York Times, "Britain Suggests Russia Is Behind Latest Nerve Agent Case," 9 July 2018 Once the major players are on the field, mayhem ensues, as some youngsters form tenuous alliances, while others try to figure out if there’s a way to subvert the system before their former friends stab, shoot, or poison them. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The First Purge’s release makes this a good weekend to watch Battle Royale on Netflix," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Ken said, battling through the foliage before realizing most of it was poison ivy. Elisabeth Egan, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award finalist: "Errata" by Carol Keeley," 10 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poison.' 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 poison

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for poison

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French poisun drink, potion, poison, from Latin potion-, potio drink — more at potion

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Statistics for poison

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poison

The first known use of poison was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for poison

poison

noun

English Language Learners Definition of poison

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a substance that can cause people or animals to die or to become very sick if it gets into their bodies especially by being swallowed

: something (such as an idea, emotion, or situation) that is very harmful or unpleasant

poison

verb

English Language Learners Definition of poison (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (a person or animal) to die or to become very sick with poison

: to put a harmful or deadly substance in or on (something)

: to change (something) in a very harmful or unpleasant way

poison

noun
poi·​son | \ ˈpȯi-zᵊn \

Kids Definition of poison

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a substance that by its chemical action can injure or kill a living thing

poison

verb
poisoned; poisoning

Kids Definition of poison (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to injure or kill with poison
2 : to put poison on or in

poison

noun
poi·​son | \ ˈpȯiz-ᵊn \

Medical Definition of poison 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism
2 : a substance that inhibits the activity of another substance or the course of a reaction or process a catalyst poison
poisoned; poisoning\ ˈpȯiz-​niŋ, -​ᵊn-​iŋ \

Medical Definition of poison (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to injure or kill with poison
2 : to treat, taint, or impregnate with poison

poison

adjective

Medical Definition of poison (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : poisonous a poison plant
2 : impregnated with poison a poison arrow

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More from Merriam-Webster on poison

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with poison

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for poison

Spanish Central: Translation of poison

Nglish: Translation of poison for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poison for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about poison

Comments on poison

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