toxic

adjective
tox·​ic | \ ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio) \

Essential Meaning of toxic

: containing poisonous substances : poisonous a toxic substance/compound The fumes from that chemical are highly toxic. Tests will be run to determine if the landfill is toxic.

Full Definition of toxic

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation toxic waste a toxic radioactive gas an insecticide highly toxic to birds
2 : exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis the patient became toxic two days later
3 : extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful toxic sarcasm
4 : relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market

toxic

noun

Definition of toxic (Entry 2 of 3)

: a toxic substance usually used in plural
variants: or toxico-

Definition of toxic- (Entry 3 of 3)

: poison toxicology

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for toxic

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Frequently Asked Questions About toxic

What is the difference between toxic and poisonous?

The words toxic and poisonous are in many ways synonymous and interchangeable. Each word appears in at least one of the other’s definitions; one of the definitions of poisonous is "producing a toxic substance that causes injury or death when absorbed or ingested," and one of the definitions of toxic is "containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation." There are some ways in which they differ, such as when toxic refers to an actual toxin which is the product of a living organism while poisonous refers to a poison which may be artificially created.

What is the difference between toxic and noxious?

Toxic and noxious mean very similar things, but toxic has a connotation of severe harm or lethality more than noxious does. Both words have broadened figurative meanings as well.

What is a toxic person?

In addition to its original meaning concerning debilitating or lethal poisons, toxic has some figurative senses. Toxic can mean "extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful," which is often the intention when describing an individual as "toxic."

Examples of toxic in a Sentence

Adjective The fumes from that chemical are highly toxic. Tests will be run to determine if the landfill is toxic. Noun tested for toxics in the water supply
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Reports of the domestic Sony Music company’s toxic work environment surfaced in recent months in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and other mainstream news outlets. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 15 Oct. 2021 Bezos would rather the public pay attention to Captain Kirk in space than to recent allegations from current and former employees about Blue Origin’s toxic workplace environment. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 13 Oct. 2021 Weiss detailed a toxic work environment that caved to online activists. Nikolas Lanum, Fox News, 5 Oct. 2021 Working at Ozy was like working on the Wall Street trading floor, according to one former employee, who attributed the toxic environment, in part, to the financial backgrounds of Watson and Rao. NBC News, 4 Oct. 2021 But the students and their families felt the district didn’t offer enough help to resolve the issue and that Stasack left behind a toxic learning environment. oregonlive, 4 Oct. 2021 The report is a continuing effort by lawmakers to address toxic heavy metals in baby foods. Taylor Avery, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 The report released Wednesday also named Plum Organics’ baby-food products as having high levels of toxic heavy metals. Allison Prang, WSJ, 1 Oct. 2021 Most recently, the Washington Spirit fired coach Richie Burke on Sept. 29 following an investigation into his pattern of harassing players and building a toxic work environment. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, 30 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Their relationship has been fraught and low-key toxic from the beginning, but it's taken time and distance to see that clearly. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, 15 June 2020 Because the whales feed near shore from the base of the food chain, even sucking up sediments and mud, their scat also could provide information about toxics in the environment, Giles said. Lynda Mapes, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Feb. 2020 Same with non-toxic, because the terms don't have concrete, universal definitions. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, 17 Feb. 2020 More: Would Fab Five revival at Michigan turn Michigan State rivalry toxic? Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 3 Jan. 2020 Pollution, from oily toxics to plastics, spills into coastal waters. Craig Welch, National Geographic, 20 Sep. 2019 Adding certain types of biomass to the soil and covering it in plastic can kill the spores, as the material decomposes and releases gas toxic to bacteria and fungi. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, 17 July 2019 From his initial charm to his subsequent gaslighting, Parker's behavior is textbook toxic. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, 20 June 2019 Joseph has previously tested its drinking water for 2,4-D, the less toxic of the two chemicals. Rob Davis | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, 13 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toxic.' 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 toxic

Adjective

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for toxic

Adjective

Late Latin toxicus, from Latin toxicum poison, from Greek toxikon arrow poison, from neuter of toxikos of a bow, from toxon bow, arrow

Combining form

New Latin, from Latin toxicum

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About toxic

Dictionary Entries Near toxic

toxemic jaundice

toxic

toxic-

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for toxic

Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Toxic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/toxic. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for toxic

toxic

adjective
tox·​ic | \ ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio) \

Kids Definition of toxic

: containing, being, or caused by poisonous or dangerous material toxic waste toxic effects

toxic

adjective
tox·​ic | \ ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio) \

Medical Definition of toxic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing serious injury or death toxic drugs toxic gas
2 : of, relating to, or caused by a poison or toxin toxic liver damage
3a : affected by a poison or toxin
b : affected with toxemia of pregnancy toxic pregnant women

toxic

noun

Medical Definition of toxic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a toxic substance

toxic

adjective
tox·​ic | \ ˈtäk-sik How to pronounce toxic (audio) \

Legal Definition of toxic

1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
2 : having substantially lowered worth specifically : relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market toxic assets toxic subprime loans

More from Merriam-Webster on toxic

Nglish: Translation of toxic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toxic for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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