ven·​om | \ ˈve-nəm How to pronounce venom (audio) \

Definition of venom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a toxic substance produced by some animals (such as snakes, scorpions, or bees) that is injected into prey or an enemy chiefly by biting or stinging and has an injurious or lethal effect broadly : a substance that is poisonous
2 : a spiteful malicious feeling or state of mind : extreme ill will : malevolence


venomed; venoming; venoms

Definition of venom (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for venom

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of venom in a Sentence

Noun She spoke of him with venom in her voice. He spewed venom against his rival.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This snake has a small mouth and fangs that make the transmission of the venom more difficult and less likely to be harmful to humans. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 21 Oct. 2021 To bathe in the familial venom; to feel, once again, the dense mesh of insults and buried love. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, 15 Oct. 2021 But as Grace got older and her sexuality took shape, the comments took on a newfound venom. Billboard, 7 Oct. 2021 The research on scorpion venom may be useful as a tool to benefit people who suffer from chronic pain and inflammation and could lead to the development of new types of non-opioid pain relievers. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Oct. 2021 Pharmacologists were optimistic about treating irritable bowel syndrome with tarantula venom. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 It is not advised to suck out the venom, contrary to popular belief. Breanna Wilson, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Carl Borg, the editor for Outforia, said someone who is bitten should remain calm to help slow the venom from spreading. Malak Silmi, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Sep. 2021 The vitriol and venom directed at Joe Biden’s efforts Thursday to finally get tough with Covid are in many ways the saddest manifestation of the Republican flight from rationality. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb References to venom as medical treatments also go back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Samantha Bresnahan, CNN, 9 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'venom.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of venom


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for venom


Middle English venim, borrowed from Anglo-French venim, venyn, going back to Vulgar Latin *venīmen, re-formation of Latin venēmum "magical herb, poison," going back to *wenes-no-m, from *wenes- (whence vener-, venus "sexual desire, qualities exciting desire, charm") + *-no-, instrumental suffix — more at venus

Note: In the sense "poison" Latin venēmum is perhaps an avoidance euphemism, a word meaning "magical charm" being transferred to something toxic, and hence dangerous, to avoid saying the actual word. Compare Old High German gift "gift, magical drink," Modern German Gift "poison."


Middle English venimen, borrowed from Anglo-French venimer, verbal derivative of venim venom entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About venom

Time Traveler for venom

Time Traveler

The first known use of venom was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near venom




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for venom

Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Venom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for venom



English Language Learners Definition of venom

: poison that is produced by an animal (such as a snake) and used to kill or injure another animal usually through biting or stinging
: a very strong feeling of anger or hatred


ven·​om | \ ˈve-nəm How to pronounce venom (audio) \

Kids Definition of venom

: poison produced by an animal (as a snake or scorpion) and passed to a victim usually by biting or stinging


ven·​om | \ ˈven-əm How to pronounce venom (audio) \

Medical Definition of venom

: a toxic substance produced by some animals (as snakes, scorpions, or bees) that is injected into prey or an enemy chiefly by biting or stinging and has an injurious or lethal effect broadly : a substance that is poisonous

More from Merriam-Webster on venom

Nglish: Translation of venom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of venom for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about venom


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!