poison

noun
poi·​son | \ ˈpȯi-zᵊn How to pronounce poison (audio) \

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 How to pronounce poisoning (audio) , 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 How to pronounce poisoner (audio) , 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

Earlier this month, two six-rotor drones began lacing North Seymour and a nearby islet with rat poison. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Drones Are Dropping Poison on Rats in the Galápagos," 24 Jan. 2019 In the final moments of the show, Petronella, played by actress Anya Taylor-Joy, walks in on Marin about to drink from a chalice filled with poison. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Miniaturist Star Anya Taylor-Joy Talks Marin's Secret and This Episode's Most Shocking Scene," 17 Sep. 2018 Political elites worked with polluters to leave poisons in the soil of some of Birmingham's most vulnerable neighborhoods. al.com, "Who does Alabama’s environmental watchdog work for? Not you.," 24 June 2019 The exhibit is all about poison in the real world, in fairy tales, in history and in legend. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From pirate ships to college tours, here are 10 things you've never done with your kids in Milwaukee," 21 June 2019 More information will be known when results of toxicology tests, which check for drugs, alcohol, poison and other toxic substances in the body, are available. Hannah Sampson, Washington Post, "7 questions about the unexplained tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic, answered," 17 June 2019 But unfortunately for the rats and for Corrigan’s surprisingly tender heart, fast-acting poisons don’t work well; rats that feel ill after a bite or two stop eating the bait. Charlie Hamilton James, National Geographic, "How rats became an inescapable part of city living," 17 June 2019 But a new fan theory (first laid out on Buzzfeed) suggests the actual method: poison. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "This Game of Thrones Theory Suggests Varys Took His Rings Off for an Important Reason," 16 May 2019 Guys, Varys was tryna poison her in the very first scene. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Did Varys Try to Kill Daenerys On 'Game of Thrones'?," 13 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On the agenda: a discussion of the lead-poisoning prevention legislation that Cleveland City Council fast-tracked for a vote this summer. Rachel Dissell, cleveland.com, "Landlords weigh in on Cleveland’s proposed lead-safe law. You can, too: Survey," 28 June 2019 One website that collects food poisoning complaints from around the world – iwaspoisoned.com – now has dozens of posts by people claiming nausea and vomiting after stays at hotels here. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "For the Dominican Republic, 6 U.S. tourist deaths, the shooting of David Ortiz and a new image problem," 12 June 2019 One website that collects food poisoning complaints from around the world — iwaspoisoned.com — now has dozens of posts by people claiming nausea and vomiting after stays at hotels here. Washington Post, "For the Dominican Republic, six U.S. tourist deaths, the shooting of a beloved ballplayer and a new image problem," 12 June 2019 These could include breaking crockery, spoiling milk, knocking on walls or even poisoning crops. Regina Hansen, WSJ, "The Ancient Magic of Elves," 21 Dec. 2018 As the fallout of the Sergei Skripal spy-poisoning incident continues and a major diplomatic dispute between Russia and the UK rages, several countries have ordered the expulsion Russian diplomats. SI.com, "Arsenal Star Warns Team Not to Get 'Wound Up' in CSKA Moscow Clash Amid Rising Russia Tensions," 3 Apr. 2018 In 1994, Sampras suffers food poisoning the night before his final with Agassi. Michelle Kaufman, miamiherald, "Key Biscayne gave us first All-Williams final — and ballgirl who won point against Agassi | Miami Herald," 19 Mar. 2018 Manturov was responding to a question about Britain's claim that the Novichok military-grade nerve agent designed in the Soviet Union was used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England. Fox News, "The Latest: German minister backs UK over Russia response," 14 Mar. 2018 Brown claimed Reese discussed poisoning her husband on multiple occasions. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Woman who killed husband execution-style sent to work release after less than 3 years in prison," 27 June 2019

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

13 Jul 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 How to pronounce poison (audio) \

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 How to pronounce poison (audio) \

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 How to pronounce poisoning (audio) \

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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