toxic

1 of 3

adjective

tox·​ic ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio)
1
: containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
toxic waste
a toxic radioactive gas
an insecticide highly toxic to birds
2
: exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis
the patient became toxic two days later
3
: extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful
toxic sarcasm
4
: relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market

toxic

2 of 3

noun

: a toxic substance
usually used in plural

toxic-

3 of 3

combining form

variants or toxico-
: poison
toxicology

Examples of toxic in a Sentence

Adjective The fumes from that chemical are highly toxic. Tests will be run to determine if the landfill is toxic. Noun tested for toxics in the water supply
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
But along the shores of Clear Lake, just north of Napa Valley’s famed wineries, is another gold-rush legacy: toxic pollution. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, 25 Feb. 2024 Bringing the iconic Mattel doll and her all-pink world to life, the film explores themes of girlhood, existentialism, feminism and toxic masculinity. Brendan Le, Peoplemag, 25 Feb. 2024 Officials and residents have also raised concerns that toxic fumes are drifting from the landfill to nearby communities and that polluted water has been discharged into nearby waterways. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2024 This has included 16 bills that have been signed into law, covering expanding access to maternal and infant care, ensuring equitable access to healthcare and removing toxic cleaning products from the consumer market. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2024 But the pursuit of online fame, particularly through Instagram, has supercharged the often toxic phenomenon, The Times found, encouraging parents to commodify their children’s images. Michael H. Keller, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2024 When this phosphorus starts accumulating in these reservoirs, which are all pretty shallow, and the summer temperatures hit, toxic algae just proliferates in there. Dana Taylor, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Lead, a toxic metal once widely used in paint ad gasoline is a neurotoxin that can cause serious harm to a child’s developing brain. The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2024 Those issues had everything to do with the toxic combination of a complex network of suppliers colliding with soaring demand for new planes. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2024
Noun
Such pollutants are hazardous to human health even in small doses: mercury causes brain damage in children; acid gases cause serious lung diseases; and metal toxics, such as chromium and nickel, cause cancer. Fred Krupp, Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2017 Ultimately, a right-to-know law like Prop 65 can only go so far in addressing toxics in products. Robin Dodson, Fortune Well, 2 May 2023 The journey is a familiar one for California’s toxics. Robert Lewis, AZCentral.com, 1 Mar. 2023 Because the whales feed near shore from the base of the food chain, even sucking up sediments and mud, their scat also could provide information about toxics in the environment, Giles said. Lynda Mapes, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Feb. 2020 Pollution, from oily toxics to plastics, spills into coastal waters. Craig Welch, National Geographic, 20 Sep. 2019 The Kennecott Minerals Company cleaned up toxics and donated the subsurface. Tom Kizzia, Anchorage Daily News, 26 June 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'toxic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Late Latin toxicus, from Latin toxicum poison, from Greek toxikon arrow poison, from neuter of toxikos of a bow, from toxon bow, arrow

Combining form

New Latin, from Latin toxicum

First Known Use

Adjective

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of toxic was in 1664

Dictionary Entries Near toxic

Cite this Entry

“Toxic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/toxic. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

toxic

adjective
tox·​ic
ˈtäk-sik
1
: of, relating to, or caused by a poison or toxin
2
toxicity
täk-ˈsis-ət-ē
noun
Etymology

Adjective

from Latin toxicus "relating to or caused by a poison," from earlier toxicum "poison," from Greek toxikon "a poison put on the tips of arrows," from toxikos "of a bow and arrows," from toxon "bow, arrow" — related to intoxicate, toxin see Word History at intoxicate

Medical Definition

toxic

1 of 2 adjective
tox·​ic ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio)
1
: containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing serious injury or death
toxic drugs
toxic gas
2
: of, relating to, or caused by a poison or toxin
toxic liver damage
3
a
: affected by a poison or toxin
b
: affected with toxemia of pregnancy
toxic pregnant women

toxic

2 of 2 noun
: a toxic substance

Legal Definition

toxic

adjective
tox·​ic ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio)
1
: containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
2
: having substantially lowered worth
specifically : relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market
toxic assets
toxic subprime loans

More from Merriam-Webster on toxic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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