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[ven-uh m] /ˈvɛn əm/
the poisonous fluid that some animals, as certain snakes and spiders, secrete and introduce into the bodies of their victims by biting, stinging, etc.
something resembling or suggesting poison in its effect; spite; malice:
the venom of jealousy.
Archaic. poison in general.
verb (used with object)
Archaic. to make venomous; envenom.
Origin of venom
1175-1225; variant of Middle English venim < Anglo-French; Old French venim, venin < Vulgar Latin *venīmen, for Latin venēnum magical herb or potion, poison < *wenes-nom, equivalent to *wenes- desire (see venerate, Venus) + *-nom noun suffix
Related forms
venomless, adjective
outvenom, verb (used with object)
unvenomed, adjective
1. See poison. 2. malignity, acrimony, bitterness, acerbity, gall, spleen, hate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for venom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet his heart still seemed to fester with the venom of the dagger.

  • Cursed be the serpent that bit you and had not sufficient power in its venom to kill!

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • In the gloom I could not see his venom gathering, but I could almost smell it.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • His venom against the white race was only the further increased.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • Even in society, the venom of party was suffered to intrude.

British Dictionary definitions for venom


a poisonous fluid secreted by such animals as certain snakes and scorpions and usually transmitted by a bite or sting
malice; spite
Derived Forms
venomless, adjective
venomous, adjective
venomously, adverb
venomousness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French venim, from Latin venēnum poison, love potion; related to venus sexual love
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for venom

early 13c., from Anglo-French and Old French venim, from Vulgar Latin *venimen (cf. Italian veleno, Spanish veneno), from Latin venenum "poison," earlier (pre-classical) "drug, potion," probably originally "love potion," from PIE *wenes-no-, and thus connected to venus "erotic love" (see Venus), Sanskrit van- "wish, desire, gain." The meaning "bitter, virulent feeling or language" is first recorded c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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venom in Medicine

venom ven·om (věn'əm)

  1. A poisonous secretion of an animal, such as a snake, spider, or scorpion, usually transmitted by a bite or sting.

  2. A poison.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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venom in Science
Any of various poisonous substances secreted by certain snakes, spiders, scorpions, and insects and transmitted to a victim by a bite or sting. Venoms are highly concentrated fluids that typically consist of dozens or hundreds of powerful enzymes, peptides, and smaller organic compounds. These compounds target and disable specific chemicals in the victim, damaging cellular and organ system function. Snake venoms, for example, contain substances that block platelet aggregation (causing bleeding) and that prevent the release of acetylcholine by nerve endings (causing muscle paralysis). Many substances contained in venoms are under investigation for use as pharmaceuticals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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