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

And there’s synthetic marijuana, called K2, which has been found to contain brodifacoum, a rat poison. Washington Post, "Ron Clark helped many break the bonds of addiction. He understood drugs were only part of the problem.," 23 Aug. 2019 As late as 2015, the idea of reviving the Matrix franchise with Reeves might have been perceived as box-office poison. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Matrix 4 Could Be Just What Hollywood Needs," 21 Aug. 2019 Much is made of Kai's unwillingness to kill people, which frankly makes him a very poor choice for the Wu Assassin and necessitates an elaborate ploy involving a special poison to remove the Wu Xing without killing its host. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Fight scenes are the only bright spot in grim, joyless Wu Assassins," 19 Aug. 2019 Richter was credited with leading the charge against the city’s rat population in the 1940s, developing a poison that a pound of was said to be potent enough to kill 300,000 of the rodents. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore has fewer rats than D.C., and other important facts about the city’s long history fighting rodents," 30 July 2019 But the plant has long been notorious as a poison that, in sufficient concentrations, could stop a healthy heart. Cindy Dampier, chicagotribune.com, "Cannabis isn’t the only game in town — medicinal plants that cure headaches and fight cancer can be found in Chicago’s oldest medicinal garden," 25 July 2019 So scientists want to throw nearly 3,000 pounds of rodent bait Brodifacoum-25D -- a poison -- to completely eradicate the mice. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "The US wants to start dumping rat poison on these islands. It will help the birds, scientists say," 8 July 2019 But liberals say playing Trump’s game is the real electoral poison. Molly Ball, Time, "What Do the Democrats Stand For? Inside a Fight Over America's Future," 25 July 2019 And perhaps steering one hater away from the poison that is Atomwaffen. CBS News, "Blaze Bernstein murder: Was an Ivy League student slain in the name of hate?," 20 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The government described his condition as an allergic reaction and rejected his allies’ suggestions that he had been poisoned. New York Times, "Putin’s Uncertain Future Shadows a Crackdown on Moscow Protests," 2 Aug. 2019 Yet it’s poisoned with a menace no amount of conservation can stop: microplastic. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Monterey Bay Is a Natural Wonder—Poisoned With Microplastic," 6 June 2019 Yet things take a wild turn when she’s poisoned into a coma by her greedy aunt (Susan Pourfar) intent on substituting the real Ashley for a hologram. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Black Mirror producers on that Miley Cyrus episode and a creepy pop star trend," 5 June 2019 Scientists at the Porton Down defense laboratory concluded they had been poisoned with Novichok, a type of nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Matt Dunham And Gregory Katz, chicagotribune.com, "2nd nerve agent poisoning likely not deliberate, British police say," 5 July 2018 Convinced they are being poisoned by the people treating their water, farmers and fishermen across northern provinces attack the health workers trying to prevent cholera’s spread and the machinery of their efforts. Longreads, "Where Have You Hidden the Cholera?," 5 Apr. 2018 Romeo, believing Juliet to be dead, poisons himself. Wired, "Flirty or Friendzone? New AI Scans Your Texts for True Love," 16 Sep. 2019 Prohibition usually causes more harm than good. Forbidding e-cigarettes will lead vapers to buy illicit products—the type that are far more likely to poison them. The Economist, "Don’t panic about e-cigarettes," 12 Sep. 2019 Not knowing about the intoxicating effects of wine, many of them thought that Bootes was trying to poison them. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Sky Watch: The summer hunter begins his long goodbye," 25 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Field biologist Andrius Pašukonis, who researches poison frog homing behavior in the wild and was not involved in this study, is excited about the results and hopes to see more work done on these and other species. Geetha Iyer, National Geographic, "This surprisingly smart frog makes maps in its mind," 25 July 2019 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 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

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