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 It is usually caused by a bacterial toxin, but can also arise from unknown factors. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "‘It’s a very special picture.’ Why vaccine safety experts put the brakes on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine," 17 Mar. 2021 An investigation conducted by CNN and the online investigative outlet Bellingcat took thousands of phone records, flight manifests, and other documents to identify the team of toxin experts who were behind Navalny's poisoning. Callie Patteson, Washington Examiner, "Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny arrested upon returning to Moscow," 17 Jan. 2021 Clostridium botulinum poisoning in humans can begin from six hours to two weeks after eating food that contains the toxin. Mike Wehner, BGR, "If you bought this product from Costco, throw it away," 26 Apr. 2021 Karenia brevis, a dinoflagellate, is the organism in red tide and produces the toxin. Larry Brand, The Conversation, "Water being pumped into Tampa Bay could cause a massive algae bloom, putting fragile manatee and fish habitats at risk," 8 Apr. 2021 One possible explanation: the cyanobacteria produce the toxin from a bromide-containing herbicide that lake managers use to control the weed. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "After more than 2 decades of searching, scientists finger cause of mass eagle deaths," 25 Mar. 2021 Botulism has always been controlled by heat, but the questions for those involved in the seal oil project were how high should the heat be and how long should it be applied to destroy the toxin. Mark Thiessen, Anchorage Daily News, "Cultural ‘big deal’: Seal oil makes the menu at Kotzebue elder-care home," 17 Feb. 2021 McIntyre has begun testing this toxin on five other Pacific salmon species, which have shown different levels of sensitivity. Rosanna Xia Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Scientists solve mystery of mass coho salmon deaths. The killer? A chemical from car tires," 3 Dec. 2020 In further tests, Wilde and colleagues found that the toxin also kills fish, insects, and worms. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "After more than 2 decades of searching, scientists finger cause of mass eagle deaths," 25 Mar. 2021

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Toxin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/toxin. Accessed 13 May. 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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