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

There are more poisons in the botanical realm than in all others combined. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Serving Raw Meat And Fish A Dinner Party Taboo?," 12 Apr. 2019 The council were particularly adept at creating ornate cups with secret poison chambers. Nancy Bilyeau, Town & Country, "The Real People Who Inspired Game of Thrones," 10 Apr. 2019 Pack a doggy first aid kit, and program poison control into your phone: 888-426-4435. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Hiking With Your Dog," 12 Feb. 2019 Physicians around the world agreed the likely cause was thallium poisoning (a toxic heavy metal sometimes used in rat poison), and her doctors treated her with the commercial dye Prussian blue, the most common antidote. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study brings us one step closer to solving 1994 thallium poisoning case," 25 Dec. 2018 Killing Eve also brought us fabulous European locations, somewhat less fabulous Russian locations, a plethora of clothes, accessories, and assassin gadgets (poison disguised in a hairpin!), and some killer dialogue—pun totally intended. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "'Killing Eve' Season Two Finally Has a Release Date. Here's Everything We Know.," 5 Jan. 2019 The glaciers that criss-cross the island create several isolated sections, which allowed the team to drop the poison in stages. National Geographic, "Large Island Declared Rat-Free in Biggest Removal Success," 9 May 2018 Neighborhood spats are all over social media as folks debate whether poison is the right solution. Detroit Free Press, "Woodward 248: Yes, rats are the worst. So how can we get rid of them?," 8 June 2018 On April 10th, 11 of them were found dead, from an apparent aldicarb (an insecticide) poison attack. Richie Hertzberg, National Geographic, "See the Last Footage of Rare Tree-Climbing Lions," 18 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Motor vehicle traffic fatalities accounted for 62% of these unintentional injury deaths, followed by poisoning at 16% and drowning at 7%. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "A 'wake-up call' about what's killing America's young people," 1 June 2018 Animals could also be baited with sweets and killed or poisoned. Darryl Fears, chicagotribune.com, "Trump administration moves to end ban on Alaska hunting practices many say are cruel," 22 May 2018 In November 2011, Mexican officials found the carcass of a Mexican gray wolf near a ranch in Sonora, poisoned and left to die. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Can Mexican gray wolves survive in Mexico? Ranchers, advocates square off in familiar debate," 13 May 2018 Unluckily for David, Cyrus has no qualms about killing him, poisoning David in a lethal plot twist everyone saw coming the moment Jake didn't pull the trigger. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "'Scandal' series finale recap: Olivia Pope finally puts herself first," 20 Apr. 2018 Instead of calling Putin, Trump should have called and offered support to the families of Putin's opponents who have been killed or poisoned while he's been in power. Jeff Darcy, cleveland.com, "Stormy Sunday threatens Trump power outage: Darcy cartoon," 23 Mar. 2018 Tests confirmed that the couple were exposed to the same nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "Nerve Agent That Poisoned Four People in the U.K. Could Remain Active for 50 Years, Police Say," 11 July 2018 That speaks directly to the lack of communication — and trust — that has poisoned the relationship. Adrian Walker, BostonGlobe.com, "Mayor Walsh says a strong UMass Boston is critical, and offers to help," 23 May 2018 Those that poison our kids and endanger our citizens deserve to be behind bars. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Feds Indict 19 In New Haven In Heroin, Cocaine Trafficking Ring," 26 Apr. 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

4 May 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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