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 toxicology (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 Responding to Nelson’s suggestion that Floyd died from complications of fentanyl use — a toxicology report found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system — Tobin said Floyd’s behavior did not correspond with that of a person who was overdosing., "5 takeaways from the second week of the Derek Chauvin trial," 10 Apr. 2021 Lee said the medical examiner will run a toxicology report to determine if impairment was a factor and is also working to identify the deceased victims and notify next of kin. Connor Van Ligten, The Arizona Republic, "DPS identifies pickup truck driver in wrong-way crash that killed 5 near Morristown," 5 Apr. 2021 The flier, an apparent printout of George Floyd's toxicology report, appeared Saturday, Duke University confirmed, on a Black History Month display honoring Black victims of police violence. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "A printout of George Floyd's toxicology report was found on a Black History display at Duke University, insinuating that he deserved to die," 25 Mar. 2021 The investigation into the crash on Feb. 23 is still active, though the actual cause may never be known without a toxicology report on Woods. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods' history with Ambien, details of latest car crash raise questions," 7 Mar. 2021 The Capitol Police confirmed that the holdup was due to Sicknick’s pending toxicology report in a statement just hours after reports about the investigation being shifted to the chemical irritant. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "FBI narrows focus to chemical spray video in death of Capitol Police officer," 26 Feb. 2021 But the toxicology results revealed something sinister. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "S.C. nurse who fatally poisoned husband with eye drops: "I just wanted him to suffer"," 13 Mar. 2021 Capitol Police issued a statement Friday that said the department was awaiting toxicology results and continued to work with other government agencies on the case. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "'We all want to know': FBI, Capitol police remain mum on what killed Officer Brian Sicknick," 2 Mar. 2021 The Orange County coroner is investigating and said the cause of death so far is inconclusive, with toxicology results expected to take months, the newspaper reported. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Jan. 21-27, 2021," 6 Feb. 2021

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

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Toxicology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for toxicology



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

More from Merriam-Webster on toxicology

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

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