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

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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 Herbal teas are a rich source of antioxidants that can work inside the body to reduce the toxin load. Daily Health Reports, Chron, "Meticore Reviews (2021 Updated) Diet Pills Supplement with Real Ingredients or Side Effects?," 4 Feb. 2021 In research published Thursday, a team of university and government scientists identify a toxin derived from tire treads that is washing into rivers and creeks as the killer of as many as 90% of the coho salmon in parts of the Puget Sound. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "New research explains why salmon are dying in the Pacific Northwest. The danger lurks in California, too," 3 Dec. 2020 In his paper, Ehrlich drew a toxin as an amoeboid blob with small nubs jutting out of it, each differently shaped; the antibodies were like little tadpoles whose mouths sometimes fit exactly onto the nubs. James Somers, The New Yorker, "How the Coronavirus Hacks the Immune System," 2 Nov. 2020 The Missouri Department of Agriculture tested samples of Sportmix varieties and found very high levels of the toxin. CBS News, "Pet food recalled after deaths of at least 28 dogs," 31 Dec. 2020 Monarchs have evolved to withstand a certain level of that toxin, storing it away in their bodies as a bitter-tasting deterrent to potential predators, including parasites. Farah Eltohamy, Animals, "Monarch butterflies denied endangered species listing despite shocking decline," 15 Dec. 2020 After initially being held by doctors in Russia, he was released to Germany, where investigators determined he was poisoned with a Novichok-class nerve agent, a potent toxin produced in Russia since the time of the Soviet Union. Callie Patteson, Washington Examiner, "Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny arrested upon returning to Moscow," 17 Jan. 2021 Routine tests of the city’s water showed that it had been contaminated with microcystin—an algal toxin. Tim Folger, National Geographic, "North America’s most valuable resource is at risk," 17 Nov. 2020 As a lethal toxin, the discrete and deadly metalloid became the weapon of choice for those looking to quietly dispose of anyone standing in their way. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "Nature's Toxic Gifts: The Deadly Story of Poison," 4 Oct. 2020

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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Toxin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/toxin. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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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Comments on toxin

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