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

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 Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain announced the following week that the poison used in the attack was novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by Soviet scientists for use on NATO troops. Ellen Barry, BostonGlobe.com, "Britain says it has proof Russia stockpiled lethal nerve agent," 18 Mar. 2018 Britain says the poison used was Novichok, a class of nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union toward the end of the Cold War. Washington Post, "US, France, Germany join UK in blaming Russia for spy attack," 15 Mar. 2018 Another one of Crimes’ canon bombshells is the appearance of Nagini — known from the books as Voldemort’s giant snake, which swallows victims whole and poisons Arthur Weasley with a nearly fatal bite. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "The biggest unanswered questions from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," 26 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But this doesn’t quite explain how Gallagher was able to poison the well so thoroughly against Socolovsky. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Inside the Spectacular Implosion of Religion News Service," 27 Apr. 2018 This amounts to Stafford having poisoned the well by lobbying for Cooter. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Matthew Stafford's lobbying could compromise Detroit Lions' coaching search," 5 Jan. 2018 Betty later finds out from her coroner pal Dr. Curdle Jr. that Daryl did not commit suicide, but was poisoned with a herb that grows in Penelope Blossom’s greenhouse. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Has Some Very Bad News for Varchie Fans," 29 Nov. 2018 Remember when Nana Rose was mysteriously poisoned with tannis root? Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "The Best "Riverdale" Season 3 Fan Theories, According to Reddit," 1 Oct. 2018 Sturgess and Rowley fell ill June 30 about 10 miles from Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned with the same nerve agent on March 4. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "British police identify source of Russian nerve agent that killed woman," 13 July 2018 Last week, Sturgess and Rowley were found collapsed at a residential building in Amesbury, Wiltshire, just eight miles north of Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "Nerve Agent That Poisoned Four People in the U.K. Could Remain Active for 50 Years, Police Say," 11 July 2018 Buzz60 German authorities launched a probe into a string of deaths at a metal fittings company after an employee was caught trying to poison a co-worker's lunch. Darko Janjevic, USA TODAY, "German man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their food," 29 June 2018 Authorities in Germany launched a probe Wednesday into a string of 21 deaths over nearly two decades after the arrest of a man suspected of trying to poison a coworker's sandwich. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "German man suspected of murdering 21 coworkers by poisoning their food," 28 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

6 Apr 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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