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
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
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of toxin
International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1886
TOXIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of toxin for English Language Learners
: a poisonous substance and especially one that is produced by a living thing
TOXIN Defined for Kids
Definition of toxin for Students
: a poison produced by a living thing (as an animal or bacterium)
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
Seen and Heard
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