toxicity

play
noun tox·ic·i·ty \ täk-ˈsi-sə-tē \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of toxicity

plural toxicities
:the quality or state of being toxic: such as
a :the quality, state, or relative degree of being poisonous
  • measuring the toxicity level of the soil
  • The toxicity of some chemical agents degrades significantly over time, so it is unclear how lethal the stockpiles are.
  • —David S. Cloud
  • Administering a cocktail of drugs would dilute the toxicities of the different drugs and minimize the development of viral resistance to them.
  • —Rudy M. Baum and Ron Dagani
b :an extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful quality
  • In the past few days, I've tuned in to C-SPAN to watch a number of the televised Senate debates, which illustrate all too vividly the toxicity of an uncivil tongue.
  • —Connie Schultz
  • In much of the ensuing commentary, court watchers worried that the justices' soaring rates of written dissents, nasty and personal attacks and scathing remarks read aloud from the bench bespeak a new toxicity in Supreme Court discourse.
  • —Dahlia Lithwick

Recent Examples of toxicity from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toxicity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Toxicity is often a relative thing; in the words of a famous old saying, "The dose makes the poison". Thus, it's possible to die from drinking too much water, and lives have been saved by tiny doses of arsenic. Even though botulinum toxin is the most toxic substance known, it's the basic ingredient in Botox, which is injected into the face to get rid of wrinkles. With some poisons, mere skin contact can be lethal; others are lethal when breathed into the lungs in microscopic amounts. To determine if a chemical will be officially called a poison, researchers often use the "LD50" test: If 50 milligrams of the substance for every kilogram of an animal's body weight results in the death of 50% of test animals, the chemical is a poison. But there are problems with such tests, and toxicity remains a very individual concept.

First Known Use of toxicity

1879


Medical Dictionary

toxicity

play
noun tox·ic·i·ty \ täk-ˈsis-ət-ē \

medical Definition of toxicity

plural toxicities
:the quality, state, or relative degree of being toxic or poisonous

Learn More about toxicity


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