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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from poison

Verb

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

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Midnight Club meets immediately, and Alice tells everyone that the chalices had blue liquid in them and that the police said Featherhead had poison in his system. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "Someone Died in the Riverdale Flashback Episode and I Need to Talk About It ASAP," 8 Nov. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The two had been poisoned by the military-grade chemical weapon, but later regained consciousness and are recovering in an undisclosed location. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "British man unwittingly gave Russian nerve agent to his girlfriend as a gift," 26 July 2018 The man and woman were sent Saturday to Salisbury District Hospital, where the Skripals spent weeks in critical condition after being poisoned. Matt Dunham And Danica Kirka, BostonGlobe.com, "2 sickened by unknown substance near site of Russian spy’s poisoning in England," 4 July 2018 Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal is no longer in critical condition after being poisoned by a nerve agent last month, offering investigators an opportunity to shed light on crucial details about the attack. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "Former Russian Spy No Longer in Critical Condition After Poisoning," 6 Apr. 2018 Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45, were sickened on June 30 in a town not far from Salisbury, where British authorities say a Russian ex-spy and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok in March. Gregory Katz, chicagotribune.com, "Bottle containing nerve agent found in home of poisoned man in U.K., police say," 13 July 2018 Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45, were sickened on June 30 in a town not far from Salisbury, where British authorities say a Russian ex-spy and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok in March. Fox News, "UK police confirm source of Novichok poisoning," 13 July 2018 Former Russian spy and double agent Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter, Yulia, were poisoned four months ago in what British authorities deemed a deliberate attack. William Booth, Anchorage Daily News, "Woman exposed to nerve agent in southern England dies; police launch murder investigation," 9 July 2018 Greg Williams Getty Images/iStockphoto Once more, two victims have been poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union. Fortune, "What Is Novichok? Why the Russian Nerve Agent Is So Dangerous," 5 July 2018 Two people in Amesbury, England, have been poisoned by the same nerve agent that nearly killed a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this year. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Two More Britons Poisoned by Nerve Agent Used on Ex-Spy," 5 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poison

Statistics for poison

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poison

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on poison

What made you want to look up poison? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!