[sahy-uh-nahyd, -nid]


Also cy·a·nid [sahy-uh-nid] /ˈsaɪ ə nɪd/. Chemistry.
  1. a salt of hydrocyanic acid, as potassium cyanide, KCN.
  2. a nitrile, as methyl cyanide, C2H3N.

verb (used with object), cy·a·nid·ed, cy·a·nid·ing.

to treat with a cyanide, as an ore in order to extract gold.

Origin of cyanide

1820–30; cyan-3 + -ide
Related formssub·cy·a·nid, nounsub·cy·a·nide, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cyanide

Contemporary Examples of cyanide

Historical Examples of cyanide

  • Again the milling results were not good, and what it demanded was the cyanide process.

    The Plunderer

    Roy Norton

  • The most important are carbonate of soda, potash, and cyanide of potassium.

  • The solution is deficient in cyanide, and too large a current is being passed.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • I took my Mauser and also hid in the cuff of my coat my cyanide of potassium.

    Beasts, Men and Gods

    Ferdinand Ossendowski

  • "Give that devil some cyanide of potassium," urged my companions.

    Beasts, Men and Gods

    Ferdinand Ossendowski

British Dictionary definitions for cyanide


cyanid (ˈsaɪənɪd)


any salt of hydrocyanic acid. Cyanides contain the ion CN and are extremely poisonous
another name (not in technical usage) for nitrile
Derived Formscyanidation, noun
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

Word Origin and History for cyanide

a salt of hydrocyanic acid, 1826, coined from cyan-, comb. form for carbon and nitrogen compounds, from Greek kyanos "dark blue" (see cyan) + chemical ending -ide, on analogy of chloride. So called because it first had been obtained by heating the dye pigment powder known as Prussian blue (see Prussian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cyanide




Any of various salts or esters of hydrogen cyanide containing a CN group, especially the extremely poisonous compounds potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for cyanide



Any of a large group of chemical compounds containing the radical CN, especially the very poisonous salts sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide. Cyanides are used to make plastics and to extract and treat metals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.