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

However, please do not use poisons, which not only kill squirrels cruelly, but also kill animals that feed upon the ground squirrels. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Uh oh. Ground squirrels have moved into a Fremont yard," 28 Aug. 2019 The total number of marijuana calls to the poison control center rose by more than 58 percent. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Marijuana brownies, gummies, and chocolates ending up in toddlers’ hands," 16 Aug. 2019 According to a June investigation by NBC News, poison control centers across the country have seen 16,500 cases involving chlorine dioxide since 2014. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "People are still drinking bleach—and vomiting and pooping their guts out," 14 Aug. 2019 Cases go back to 2010 and were reported to the FDA or poison control centers around the country. CBS News, "Can vaping trigger seizures? Health officials investigate e-cigarette risks," 8 Aug. 2019 Common methods used throughout our history include axes, hatchets, blunt objects, knives, hanging, drowning, poison gas, poison, fire, and aircraft (and not just on 9/11). Clayton E. Cramer, National Review, "Mass Murder without Guns," 7 Aug. 2019 The rat poison — which contained an anticoagulant — would have made sure the people hit wouldn’t have stopped bleeding easily; the feces was likely there to cause an infection in every wound. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Chapter Five: The Remnant," 20 July 2019 After Billy realizes that the dachshund is stuffed, the story ends, with his host beaming creepily at him and poison seeping through his limbs. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Taxidermy Is a Metaphor for Our Time," 21 Aug. 2019 In the farms around Meru, farmers like Kathure have to employ guards armed with poison arrows, machetes, and other weapons, to protect their plants. Jillian Keenan, Time, "'I Need the Money But I Feel Guilt.' How a Drought-Resistant Crop Turned Women in Kenya into Reluctant Drug Lords," 20 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Plus, he’s been poisoned by the Big Brother room in solitary confinement! Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Dan's funeral: An oral history of the greatest Big Brother moment ever," 29 Aug. 2019 After Sister Julia, Child of God accidentally poisons 52 of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, the remaining sisters need to raise funds for burials and decide to do so by putting on a variety show in the school auditorium. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Welk Theatre Resort’s 2020 season includes musicals, tribute shows," 29 Aug. 2019 This could mean they weren’t eaten, poisoned, or infected and were thus around to pass on their genes compared with those who didn’t know to stay away. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "Is Trypophobia Really a Fear of Holes or Something Else Entirely?," 26 July 2019 Brian Kozlowski pleaded no contest to charges of poisoning a drink in June, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Michigan man sentenced to 60 weekend days in jail for poisoning wife's coffee," 2 Aug. 2019 The Rende family hopes they haven't been poisoned by unknown toxins seeping into their Troy home after living there for 8 years. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Troy homeowners’ horror: 'Dad, something really stinks in the basement'," 12 July 2019 Britain has accused Russia of poisoning the pair with a military-grade nerve agent, a claim Moscow denies. Bloomberg.com, "Poisoned Former Spy Sergei Skripal Discharged From U.K. Hospital," 18 May 2018 Blankenship — whose time in prison was punishment for the latest in a long line of violations, including accusations of poisoning drinking water and forcing employees to underreport their injuries — had been trying to salvage his brand for years. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "The GOP Candidate Testing the Limits of Trumpism," 4 May 2018 Over-zealous spraying of herbicides that might have poisoned it? oregonlive.com, "Is there hope for this distressed magnolia tree? Ask an Expert," 14 July 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

7 Sep 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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