tox·​i·​col·​o·​gy | \ ˌtäk-si-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce toxicology (audio) \

Definition of toxicology

: a science that deals with poisons and their effect and with the problems involved (such as clinical, industrial, or legal problems)

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Other Words from toxicology

toxicologist \ ˌtäk-​si-​ˈkä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce toxicologist (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

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 Police suspect alcohol was a factor, according to Lewis, who said results from toxicology tests were pending. CBS News, "2 killed, 4 injured when man mourning son's death drives pickup into Oklahoma cross-country team," 4 Feb. 2020 The Alabama news outlet reported that the cause and manner of death has not yet been determined, and officials were awaiting additional tests that include toxicology tests. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Man sought for abuse of corpse in Paighton Houston case arrested in Ohio," 30 Jan. 2020 An autopsy and toxicology test will be conducted later this week to determine Martinez’s official cause of death. Alejandro Serrano,, "Man dies after being struck by falling eucalyptus tree in Mill Valley," 28 Jan. 2020 In December, Cox also died of unknown causes, and police in Gilbert, Arizona, are still waiting for toxicology test results in his death investigation. CBS News, "Mom of 2 missing Idaho kids found in Hawaii with new husband, but no sign of children," 28 Jan. 2020 Investigators are waiting for toxicology results before making a final determination on the cause of death. Andy Rose And Theresa Waldrop, CNN, "Montana teen probably died from weather exposure, investigators say," 23 Jan. 2020 The circumstances surrounding Manning’s death were not immediately known and law enforcement did not state a cause of death pending toxicology results. Fox News, "California police ID body found wrapped in tarp in back of abandoned U-Haul truck," 12 Jan. 2020 Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash and police are awaiting toxicology results. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "Police believe alcohol was a factor in crash that killed Bargersville man," 11 Jan. 2020 Opioids were found to play a role in about half of the deaths involving meth in 2017, the most recent year for which detailed toxicology results are available. Abby Goodnough, New York Times, "A New Drug Scourge: Deaths Involving Meth Are Rising Fast," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toxicology.' 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 toxicology

circa 1799, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for toxicology

Time Traveler

The first known use of toxicology was circa 1799

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Statistics for toxicology

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toxicology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for toxicology


How to pronounce toxicology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of toxicology

technical : the study of poisonous chemicals, drugs, etc., and how a person or other living thing reacts to them


tox·​i·​col·​o·​gy | \ -ˈkäl-ə-jē How to pronounce toxicology (audio) \
plural toxicologies

Medical Definition of toxicology

: the scientific study of the adverse effects of chemical substances on the living organism

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toxicology

Nglish: Translation of toxicology for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about toxicology

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