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, toxin, venom

Synonyms: Verb

abase, cheapen, corrupt, debase, debauch, degrade, demean, demoralize, deprave, deteriorate, lessen, pervert, profane, prostitute, subvert, vitiate, warp

Synonyms: Adjective

envenomed, poisoned, poisonous, toxic, venomous

Antonyms: Verb

elevate, ennoble, uplift

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

In addition to the 13 people who were killed, more than 1,000 others were sickened when plastic bags containing the poison were leaked on five subway lines on March 20, 1995. NBC News, "Founder of doomsday cult behind deadly 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack executed in Japan," 6 July 2018 An American Academy of Pediatrics study published Monday revealed that there were more than 156,000 cases of adolescent exposure to ADHD medication reported to various U.S. poison control centers between 2000 and 2014. Christen A. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Poison control calls for ADHD drugs increased more than 60%, study finds," 21 May 2018 Call your vet, an animal poison control center, or an emergency pet hospital immediately. Karen Asp, Good Housekeeping, "6 Ways To Protect Your Dog From Common (But Potentially Deadly) Winter Dangers," 29 Dec. 2017 Blood thinners 1941: Karl Paul Link, a professor in UW’s Department of Agriculture, develops the anticoagulant warfarin, used as a rat poison. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW scientific advances include vitamins, growing human embryonic stem cells in lab," 12 July 2018 If it is shipped to a developing country where small-scale workshops try to recover the valuable components, the laborers are exposed to the poisons. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "'E-waste': Getting grip on a growing global problem," 9 July 2018 The poisons are thought to be eight to 10 times as powerful as VX or sarin gas. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018 British citizens are now on high alert, uncertain whether the deadly poison is still lurking in other places. Madeleine Ngo, Vox, "A British couple was poisoned with a lethal toxin. The UK is blaming Russia.," 5 July 2018 Scientists were working to identify the substance amid speculation the victims could have been sickened by residue from the poison that nearly killed Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Author: Matt Dunham, Jill Lawless, Anchorage Daily News, "Another mystery illness rocks England after spy’s poisoning," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Britain accused Russia of poisoning the Skripals with the nerve agent, which the Soviet armed forces developed during the cold war. The Economist, "A new Novichok poisoning in Britain," 5 July 2018 Britain accuses Russia of poisoning the Skripals with a nerve agent known as Novichok, a group of chemical weapons developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Matt Dunham And Danica Kirka, BostonGlobe.com, "2 sickened by unknown substance near site of Russian spy’s poisoning in England," 4 July 2018 Britain accuses Russia of poisoning the Skripals with a nerve agent known as Novichok, a group of chemical weapons developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Matt Dunham And Danica Kirka, chicagotribune.com, "U.K. anti-terror police join investigation into 'unknown substance' that left 2 people in critical condition," 4 July 2018 When my father was in University, his father was poisoned in our village. Zito Madu, GQ, "How to Forgive Your Father," 26 June 2018 His beloved fruit would be poisoned with radiation. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Five Early Lessons in Parenting," 5 May 2018 British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of poisoning an ex-spy and his daughter in England with a nerve agent, but the president has been hesitant so far to accept their ally’s conclusions. Benjy Sarlin, NBC News, "Who is Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s pick for Secretary of State?," 13 Mar. 2018 The charity had dropped about 300 metric tons of poisoned bait on the island over the course of several years to kill the pests, which threatened native birds. Matt Warren, Science | AAAS, "Rat begone: Record eradication effort rids sub-Antarctic island of invasive rodents," 8 May 2018 If only the Rajneeshees had stuck to enjoying their tortes and tarts and parathas instead of trying to poison their neighbors by spiking the salad bar with salmonella. Melissa Locker, Bon Appetit, "Watching ‘Wild, Wild Country’? Then You Need to See The Rajneesh Cookbook," 4 May 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

19 Oct 2018

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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Comments on poison

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exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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