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, 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

In the case that your child does get into your medication, call your poison control center at 800-222-1222. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This One Simple Step Could Save Your Kids From Accidental Poisoning This Halloween," 31 Oct. 2018 People suggested arming teachers with everything from rat poison to mace to, yes, baseball bats. Amy B Wang, courant.com, "A district armed its teachers with baseball bats, urging them to fight back in a mass shooting," 11 Apr. 2018 Health officials say the patients are believed to have inhaled synthetic marijuana, otherwise known as Spice or K2, laced with a pesticide called brodifacoum that is used as rat poison and causes severe bleeding. Julie Bosman, New York Times, "Tainted Synthetic Marijuana Sickens More Than 90 in Midwest, Killing 2," 6 Apr. 2018 To keep their teams on that path, Pearl and Johnson have to keep the rat poison out of reach because what Johnson said the other day about Alabama is just as true of its rival. Kevin Scarbinsky, AL.com, "A football state? Yeah but check the SEC basketball standings," 23 Jan. 2018 Every Halloween, parents around the country warn their children about something truly scary: poison, pins, and needles in Halloween candy. German Lopez, Vox, "The myth of poisoned Halloween candy," 31 Oct. 2018 Pick your poison and get ready for the holiday below. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 28 Best Halloween Movies on Netflix," 11 Oct. 2018 If Dom Pérignon is your poison but your thirst extends beyond the typical haute-boozy dinner at a historic property, perhaps the Dom Pérignon island of Sa Ferradura, just off Ibiza, is more to your taste? Horacio Silva, Town & Country, "The Experience Wars: Inside the Furious Fight for the Affections (and Dollars) of the World's Biggest Spenders," 20 Sep. 2018 Enliven bottles with homemade labels to change your favorite soda or fruit drink into tempting poisons and elixirs, such as Rat Poison, Witches Brew, or Truth Serum. Mark Addison, Seventeen, "12 Genius Tips for Throwing a Spooky Halloween Party Your Friends Will Never Forget," 8 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Plus, the person sucking out the venom can swallow some and end up poisoning themselves. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Avoid and Treat Rattlesnake Bites," 9 Nov. 2018 But from the very start, the idea of original sin was caught up with a kind of obsessive interest in and hatred of human sexuality, which poisoned it to the core. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why science can’t replace religion," 4 Nov. 2018 Laboratory testing showed the substance that poisoned them was Novichok, the British government has said, part of a class of nerve agents developed first in the Soviet Union and later in Russia. New York Times, "Britain Suggests Russia Is Behind Latest Nerve Agent Case," 9 July 2018 Once the major players are on the field, mayhem ensues, as some youngsters form tenuous alliances, while others try to figure out if there’s a way to subvert the system before their former friends stab, shoot, or poison them. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The First Purge’s release makes this a good weekend to watch Battle Royale on Netflix," 6 July 2018 To save the body from cancer with chemotherapy means poisoning it — sores, baldness and other afflictions accompany the paradoxical process. Ben Brazil, latimes.com, "CHOC to hold prom night for teens battling cancer and for post-treatment survivors," 14 June 2018 The nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was smuggled to Britain in a counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle and applied to the front door of their house, according to Metropolitan Police. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Two Russians deny involvement in UK Novichok poisoning: 'We went there to see Stonehenge'," 13 Sep. 2018 In July, a woman in the U.K. died after coming into contact with the same nerve agent used to poison Mr. Skripal and his daughter. Jessica Donati And Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "U.S. to Impose New Sanctions on Russia Over Nerve-Agent Attack in U.K.," 9 Aug. 2018 Police said tests showed the pair was exposed to Novichok, the same type of nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury in March. BostonGlobe.com, "2 more in England exposed to same nerve agent that sickened spy," 8 July 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

14 Dec 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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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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