poison

1 of 3

noun

poi·​son ˈpȯi-zᵊn How to pronounce poison (audio)
1
a
: 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

2 of 3

verb

poisoned; poisoning ˈpȯiz-niŋ How to pronounce poison (audio)
ˈpȯi-zᵊn-iŋ

transitive verb

1
a
: 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 restCharles Dickens
poisoner
ˈpȯiz-nər How to pronounce poison (audio)
ˈpȯi-zᵊn-ər
noun

poison

3 of 3

adjective

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

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. Adjective the witch gave Snow White a poison apple
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In Europe, this populist poison is spreading out everywhere. Marta Balaga, Variety, 5 July 2024 Many gardeners and homeowners prefer not to use poisons to get rid of ants, which has people considering more natural remedies. Kristine Gill, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 June 2024
Verb
The report from Greater Cincinnati Water Works said that lead poisoning – a condition that can cause convulsions and death – does not happen through washing one's hands with water containing lead. Elizabeth B. Kim, The Enquirer, 8 July 2024 During her previous 10-month trial at Manchester Crown Court in 2022 and 2023, prosecutors accused Letby of force-feeding infants' milk, poisoning some with insulin and injecting others with air. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 5 July 2024
Adjective
Behavior and reproduction Most frogs are nocturnal, but not poison frogs. National Geographic, 28 Feb. 2020 Some farmers even intentionally poison cranes to stop them from foraging in their crops. National Geographic, 10 Feb. 2020 See all Example Sentences for poison 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'poison.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near poison

Cite this Entry

“Poison.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poison. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

poison

1 of 3 noun
poi·​son ˈpȯiz-ən How to pronounce poison (audio)
1
: a substance that by its chemical action can kill or injure a living thing
2
: something destructive or harmful

poison

2 of 3 verb
poisoned; poisoning ˈpȯiz-niŋ How to pronounce poison (audio)
-ᵊn-iŋ
1
a
: to injure or kill with poison
b
: to put poison in or on
poisoned the air with its fumes
2
: to exert a harmful influence on : corrupt
poisoned their minds
poisoner
ˈpȯiz-nər How to pronounce poison (audio)
-ᵊn-ər
noun

poison

3 of 3 adjective
: poisonous
a poison plant
Etymology

Noun

Middle English poison "poison, a poisonous drink," from early French poison "drink, potion, poison," from Latin potion-, potio "a drink, potion" — related to potion

Medical Definition

poison

1 of 3 noun
poi·​son ˈpȯiz-ᵊn How to pronounce poison (audio)
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

poison

2 of 3 transitive verb
poisoned; poisoning ˈpȯiz-niŋ, -ᵊn-iŋ How to pronounce poison (audio)
1
: to injure or kill with poison
2
: to treat, taint, or impregnate with poison

poison

3 of 3 adjective
1
: poisonous
a poison plant
2
: impregnated with poison
a poison arrow

More from Merriam-Webster on poison

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