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ven·​om ˈve-nəm How to pronounce venom (audio)
: 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
: a spiteful malicious feeling or state of mind : extreme ill will : malevolence


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venomed; venoming; venoms

Example Sentences

Noun She spoke of him with venom in her voice. He spewed venom against his rival.
Recent Examples on the Web
Two drops of the mamba's venom will kill most humans, the site said. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 17 Jan. 2023 Credit Tom Ricketts for agreeing to return to the hot seat, knowing there will likely be some fan venom along with the occasional softball question. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 10 Jan. 2023 The venom was sitting inside a prosthetic that was attached to Margot’s neck, and it was made with honey and a little bit of water. Todd Gilchrist, Variety, 10 Jan. 2023 Glowing creatures beamed down from great heights, electric eels and red venom. Jack Irvin, Peoplemag, 5 Jan. 2023 Felipe Grazziotin, a scientist based at the Instituto Butantan, a Brazilian biologic research facility, thinks that the viper’s venom could impact the human body the same as the genus Bothrops. Joe Phelan, Discover Magazine, 3 Jan. 2023 The students, calling for a democratization of the church, directed venom at Father Ratzinger himself. Rachel Donadio, New York Times, 31 Dec. 2022 This year, scientists fashioned a gel from proteins in snake venom that can help stop uncontrolled bleeding, and a team of engineers built an engine-less Mars glider inspired by the flight of the albatross. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Dec. 2022 But in show business the show must go on, and Li sucked the fake venom (which was made with honey and covered in sand) from the prosthetic wound on Robbie's neck before proceeding to kiss her. Lauren Huff,, 23 Dec. 2022
What makes cone snail venom a uniquely useful treasure-trove of potential pharmaceuticals is the nature of the snails’ attack. Leah Shaffer, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2016 References to venom as medical treatments also go back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Samantha Bresnahan, CNN, 9 Nov. 2020 See More

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.

Word History



Middle English venim, borrowed from Anglo-French venim, venyn, going back to Vulgar Latin *venīmen, re-formation of Latin venēnum "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 venēnum 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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near venom

Cite this Entry

“Venom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


: poison produced by some animals (as a snake, scorpion, or bee) and passed to a victim usually by biting or stinging

Medical Definition


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

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