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, 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

To test out Terry's interval eating theory and its ability to gobble up aging-promoting toxins, the Dubrows organized their own six-month trial with 100 participants. Karla Walsh, Woman's Day, "Everything You Need to Know About the Dubrow Diet," 29 Jan. 2019 That’s a strain of E. coli that produces Shiga toxin, which stops cells in a host from functioning properly. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Trash your romaine lettuce and don’t eat any in restaurants, says the CDC," 21 Nov. 2018 Other studies have suggested that exposure to toxins (like lead or smoking during pregnancy and traumatic brain injuries may play a role. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Why Are So Many More Children Being Diagnosed With ADHD Today?," 24 Sep. 2018 No one has been reported as sickened by the toxin, once used in the production of liquid rocket fuel. Fox News, "Toxin at heart of drug recall shows holes in medical safety net," 22 Aug. 2018 The problem arises from the fact that, among the several breeds, there's no consistency where the toxins lie. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Turning Pufferfish into Mutant Hybrids," 11 Dec. 2018 Major came to the Delaware Humane Association along with five other puppies, all of whom had been exposed to toxins in their home. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Joe Biden Adopts Adorable Shelter Dog," 18 Nov. 2018 This subtype may be associated with chronic exposure to environmental toxins, such as certain metals and mold, but the research is currently inconclusive. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 The toxins in a particular jellyfish’s venom vary by species, but the most common ingredient is porin. National Geographic, "What's Giving Some Beachgoers Rashes? Get the Facts.," 28 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

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Statistics for toxin

Last Updated

6 Feb 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 \

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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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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