- a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health.
- something harmful or pernicious, as to happiness or well-being: the poison of slander.
- Slang. any variety of alcoholic liquor: Name your poison!
- to administer poison to (a person or animal).
- to kill or injure with or as if with poison.
- to put poison into or upon; saturate with poison: to poison food.
- to ruin, vitiate, or corrupt: Hatred had poisoned his mind.
- Chemistry. to destroy or diminish the activity of (a catalyst or enzyme).
- causing poisoning; poisonous: a poison shrub.
Origin of poison
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for poison
Leapolitan responded by saying, “hopefully youll [sic] bite into a poison apple.”Grindr’s Trans Dating Problem
January 9, 2015
And some members of the Lizard Squad are now claiming that they were never trying to poison the network.The Attack on the Hidden Internet
December 29, 2014
Infernal, it can cause fires and explosions; toxic, it can debilitate, poison, and kill.The Fiery Underground Oil Pit Eating L.A.
December 6, 2014
Then came the horrors of World War I, with the advent of tanks and airplanes and poison gas.How Clausewitz Invented Modern War
James A. Warren
November 24, 2014
“Either you poison yourselves or you take this which shoots,” the boss says.Days of Mafia Mayhem Are Wracking Italy Once Again
Barbie Latza Nadeau
November 22, 2014
He would not look at it, and when I threw it close to him he dashed it away as if it was poison.Explorations in Australia
Better remember my little school-mate as she was before the poison stung her.The Bacillus of Beauty
I determined to try the poison of jealousy, by way of an alterative.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
She poured it as if it were poison, and Josiah became conscious of her tragic self-control.Tiverton Tales
Why reserve the knowledge of the blessing until it has turned to poison?Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
- any substance that can impair function, cause structural damage, or otherwise injure the bodyRelated adjective: toxic
- something that destroys, corrupts, etcthe poison of fascism
- a substance that retards a chemical reaction or destroys or inhibits the activity of a catalyst
- a substance that absorbs neutrons in a nuclear reactor and thus slows down the reaction. It may be added deliberately or formed during fission
- what's your poison? informal what would you like to drink?
- to give poison to (a person or animal) esp with intent to kill
- to add poison to
- to taint or infect with or as if with poison
- (foll by against) to turn (a person's mind) againsthe poisoned her mind against me
- to retard or stop (a chemical or nuclear reaction) by the action of a poison
- to inhibit or destroy (the activity of a catalyst) by the action of a poison
Word Origin and History for poison
c.1200, "a deadly potion or substance," also figuratively, from Old French poison, puison (12c., Modern French poison) "a drink," especially a medical drink, later "a (magic) potion, poisonous drink" (14c.), from Latin potionem (nominative potio) "a drinking, a drink," also "poisonous drink" (Cicero), from potare "to drink" (see potion).
For form evolution from Latin to French, cf. raison from rationem. The Latin word also is the source of Old Spanish pozon, Italian pozione, Spanish pocion. The more usual Indo-European word for this is represented in English by virus. The Old English word was ator (see attercop) or lybb. Slang sense of "alcoholic drink" first attested 1805, American English.
For sense evolution, cf. Old French enerber, enherber "to kill with poisonous plants." In many Germanic languages "poison" is named by a word equivalent to English gift (cf. Old High German gift, German Gift, Danish and Swedish gift; Dutch gift, vergift). This shift might have been partly euphemistic, partly by influence of Greek dosis "a portion prescribed," literally "a giving," used by Galen and other Greek physicians to mean an amount of medicine (see dose (n.)).
Figuratively from late 15c.; of persons by 1910. As an adjective from 1520s; with plant names from 18c. Poison ivy first recorded 1784; poison oak is from 1743. Poison gas first recorded 1915. Poison-pen (letter) popularized 1913 by a notorious criminal case in Pennsylvania, U.S.; the phrase dates to 1898.
"to give poison to; kill with poison," c.1300, from Old French poisonner "to give to drink," and directly from poison (n.). Figuratively from late 14c. Related: Poisoned; poisoning.
- A substance taken internally or applied externally that is injurious to health or dangerous to life.
- A chemical substance that inhibits another substance or a reaction.
- To kill or harm with poison.
Idioms and Phrases with poison
In addition to the idiom beginning with poison
, also see