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)

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Synonyms for venom

Synonyms: Noun

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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 The fog in the fog room will be turned off, and visitors will not be invited to blow into a device meant to demonstrate how animals spray venom. Erin Allday,, "California hoping to contain coronavirus spread as national cases surge," 12 Oct. 2020 Tony once saved my life by sucking a rattlesnake's venom from my body. Amber Hunt, The Enquirer, "Something good in 2020? The Enquirer investigates, finds the rumor's not garbage," 8 Sep. 2020 In stinging you, the ants also unleashing venom into the sting, which contains a chemical called piperidine. Maggie O'neill,, "Everything You Need to Know About Ant Bites, According to Experts," 10 Aug. 2020 Their stingers are longer than that of a honeybee and their venom is more toxic. David Williams, CNN, "The search is on for a nest of murder hornets in Washington state," 3 Oct. 2020 Repeat those steps two or three times, and all saliva or venom should be removed from your bite. Kai Burkhardt, CNN Underscored, "Got a bug bite? This treatment can provide instant relief," 20 Aug. 2020 Except that the venom does not, in general, kill mammals. The Economist, "Evolution Why funnel-web spiders are so dangerous to people," 26 Sep. 2020 When threatened, these wide-eyed critters will hiss and clasp their paws atop their heads, undulate like snakes, and suck up a mouthful of venom from glands in their armpits. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Does a Study of Slow Lorises Actually Say About Cat Allergies?," 19 Feb. 2020 In research published in the Journal of Herpetology, Finger showed that alligator blood was 100 times more resistant to venom than mouse blood. Tristan Baurick,, "Could Louisiana alligator blood be a cure for snake bites? This study explains how," 24 Aug. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for venom

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for venom

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Venom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for venom


How to pronounce venom (audio)

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

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