toxin

noun
tox·​in | \ ˈtäk-sən How to pronounce toxin (audio) \

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, toxic, 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

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Salmon caviar recalled due to botulism fears," 16 Aug. 2019 The Rende family hopes they haven't been poisoned by unknown toxins seeping into their Troy home after living there for 8 years. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Troy homeowners’ horror: 'Dad, something really stinks in the basement'," 12 July 2019 According to Charlton, who spoke with Live Science, the seizure was likely triggered by toxins or pressure on the brain from the infection. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "A Man Developed a Near-Fatal Infection in His Brain Lining After Using a Cotton Swab," 15 Mar. 2019 Months later, two residents of a nearby town with no ties to Russia were also poisoned by the deadly toxin. Fox News, "Trump administration set to hit Russia with new sanctions over chemical attack against ex-spy in Britain," 9 Aug. 2018 The liver has the ability to regenerate itself, should it become damaged by toxins or diseases like cirrhosis or hepatitis. Quanta Magazine, "I Contain Multitudes," 21 Aug. 2014 But routine corrosion control measures were skipped, causing lead and other toxins to leach into the supplies. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "In Flint, suspicions of the water — and of Democratic candidates — run deep," 29 July 2019 Known for their deadly venom that is packed with toxins that cause drops in blood pressure, massive bleeding and ultimately shock, komodo dragons are carnivorous and have been known to devour all kinds of meat. Fox News, "Graphic video shows komodo dragon swallowing monkey whole," 27 July 2019 And in mice, researchers including Skinner found that parents exposed to altered diets, low temperatures, or toxins had descendants with behavioral changes and weight gain. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how," 18 July 2019

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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Statistics for toxin

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce toxin (audio) \

Kids Definition of toxin

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

toxin

noun
tox·​in | \ ˈtäk-sən How to pronounce toxin (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on toxin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toxin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toxin

Spanish Central: Translation of toxin

Nglish: Translation of toxin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toxin for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about toxin

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