tox·​i·​col·​o·​gy ˌtäk-si-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce toxicology (audio)
: a science that deals with poisons and their effect and with the problems involved (such as clinical, industrial, or legal problems)
toxicologist noun

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Even though most of us are aware of toxicology primarily from crime shows on TV, toxicologists actually do most of their work in other fields. Many are employed by drug companies, others by chemical companies. Many work for the government, making sure the public is being kept safe from environmental poisons in the water, soil, and air, as well as unhealthy substances in our food and drugs. These issues often have to do with quantity; questions about how much of some substance should be considered dangerous, whether in the air or in a soft drink, may be left to toxicologists. But occasionally a toxicology task may be more exciting: for instance, discovering that what looked like an ordinary heart attack was actually brought on by a hypodermic injection of a paralyzing muscle relaxant.

Examples of toxicology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Preliminary toxicology results from the deaths of three Kansas City Chiefs fans who were found dead in the snow two days after a game day gathering showed THC, cocaine and lethal levels of fentanyl in their systems, Fox News Digital previously reported. Michael Dorgan, Fox News, 14 June 2024 No cause of death has yet to be reported, as toxicology results and an autopsy are pending. Evan Rosen, New York Daily News, 13 June 2024 That’s because the Food and Drug Administration requires nearly every researcher who tests a new drug in humans to submit a litany of data to the agency outlining everything from statistics on a drug’s absorption and metabolism rates to the results of toxicology studies conducted on lab animals. Nicholas Florko and Sarah Owermohle, STAT, 30 May 2024 Hansen was unsettled when toxicology reports indicated why: Mother rats seemed to be offloading the chemical to their pups. Sharon Lerner, ProPublica, 20 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for toxicology 

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1799, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of toxicology was circa 1799

Dictionary Entries Near toxicology

Cite this Entry

“Toxicology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


tox·​i·​col·​o·​gy -ˈkäl-ə-jē How to pronounce toxicology (audio)
plural toxicologies
: the scientific study of the adverse effects of chemical substances on the living organism

More from Merriam-Webster on toxicology

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