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

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 The film is also remembered for Bond's fight with humorless former KGB agent Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), who tries to dispatch Bond with poison in the toe of her shoe. Charles Stockdale And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "Every James Bond film ranked from worst to best," 18 June 2018 The two other people who came into contact with the poison—Ms. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "Poisoned Ex-Russian Spy Is Discharged From U.K. Hospital," 18 May 2018 But what began as a culture of peace and free love morphed, as the group struggled to keep control of the area, into a saga marked by poison attacks, attempted murders and rampant immigration fraud. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "The Wild Wild Country Team Knows They Left Out Part of the Story. But They Did it on Purpose," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The film, included in the forthcoming DVD, follows a group of seventh-grade girls who plan to poison some boys at school, as inspired by the latest installment on their syllabus, Flowers in the Attic. Olivia Aylmer, HWD, "How The Virgin Suicides Brought Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst Together," 20 Apr. 2018 Polygraph also challenged Russia's denial that the nerve agent used to poison a former spy in the UK was made only in Russia, and its assertion that no chemical attack took place in Syria. NBC News, "One tiny corner of the U.S. government pushes back against Russian disinformation," 15 Apr. 2018 The expulsions, which were denounced by the Kremlin, were a show of solidarity with their ally Britain, which has accused the Kremlin of being behind the use of a nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter. Author: Richard Pérez Peña, Anchorage Daily News, "Expelling Russians, Europe and North America show unity with U.K.," 27 Mar. 2018 They were found to have been poisoned with Novichok, a lethal nerve agent produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Gregory Katz, chicagotribune.com, "Bottle containing nerve agent found in home of poisoned man in U.K., police say," 13 July 2018 They were found to have been poisoned with Novichok, a lethal nerve agent produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Fox News, "UK police confirm source of Novichok poisoning," 13 July 2018 The Chinese foreign ministry said in December that Turnbull's remarks were prejudiced against China and had poisoned the atmosphere of China-Australia relations. Rod Mcguirk, The Christian Science Monitor, "Australia approves bill to make foreign influence on politics more transparent," 26 June 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

5 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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