toxin

noun
tox·in | \ˈtäk-sən \

Definition of toxin 

: a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation

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Synonyms for toxin

Synonyms

bane, poison, venom

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Toxins Are Often Found in Nature

Long before chemists started creating poisons from scratch, humans were employing natural toxins for killing weeds and insects. For centuries South American tribes have used the toxin curare, extracted from a native vine, to tip their arrows. The garden flower called wolfsbane or monkshood is the source of aconite, an extremely potent toxin. The common flower known as jimsonweed contains the deadly poison scopolamine. And the castor-oil plant yields the almost unbelievably poisonous toxin called ricin. Today we hear health advisers of all kinds talk about ridding the body of toxins; but they're usually pretty vague about which ones they mean, and most of these "toxins" wouldn't be called that by biologists.

Examples of toxin in a Sentence

the toxin in scorpion venom read a pamphlet on the toxin responsible for botulism, a food poisoning that can cause paralysis and even death in some cases

Recent Examples on the Web

This treatment, at one of Seattle’s best spas, includes cupping and lymphatic-drainage massage to improve circulation and reduce bloating and swelling, plus 30 minutes in an Infrared Jade Pod to sweat out the last of the toxins. Olivia Hall, The Seattle Times, "Overstressed? 15 wellness trends to help you relax," 3 July 2018 The research team thinks that the bitter genes allow the koalas to pick out leaves with the least amount of toxins, while the nasal receptor expansion might help them sniff out which leaves have a higher water content. Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, "The koalas are threatened. Can their genome help us save them?," 2 July 2018 In addition to being carcinogenic, some of the toxins produced by grilling meat may also increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "4 Ways to Make Grilling Healthier This Summer," 1 June 2018 Researchers with the state Department of the Environment tested samples of mussels back then and found no toxins. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018 About a decade ago, his team made headlines for removing a toxin from cottonseed and making the seed a valid, high-protein animal feed. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "A&M cotton research could open new front in war on weeds," 5 July 2018 One finding is that the koala has an unusual number of genes that encode for enzymes that can break down toxins in leaves. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "Koala genome shows how the adorable marsupial lives on eucalyptus leaves," 2 July 2018 The Commerce Department is charged with overseeing sales of other sensitive materials, including aviation fuel that can be used to power ballistic missiles. and toxins that are key ingredients to chemical weapons. Annie Linskey, BostonGlobe.com, "Donald Trump wants to make foreign arms sales easier," 23 June 2018 Many components are laden with lead and mercury, cadmium, and other toxins. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thailand takes first step toward total ban of e-waste," 21 June 2018

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

1886, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for toxin

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Phrases Related to toxin

environmental toxin

Statistics for toxin

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for toxin

The first known use of toxin was in 1886

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More Definitions for toxin

toxin

noun

English Language Learners Definition of toxin

: a poisonous substance and especially one that is produced by a living thing

toxin

noun
tox·in | \ˈtäk-sən \

Kids Definition of toxin

: a poison produced by a living thing (as an animal or bacterium)

toxin

noun
tox·in | \ˈtäk-sən \

Medical Definition of toxin 

: a colloidal proteinaceous poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation

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Comments on toxin

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