[myoo-tuh-juh n, -jen]


a substance or preparation capable of inducing mutation.

Origin of mutagen

First recorded in 1945–50; muta(tion) + -gen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mutagen

toxin, poison, killer

British Dictionary definitions for mutagen



a substance or agent that can induce genetic mutation
Derived Formsmutagenic (ˌmjuːtəˈdʒɛnɪk), adjectivemutagenicity, noun

Word Origin for mutagen

C20: from mutation + -gen
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 mutagen

1946, from mutation + -gen "thing that produces." Related: Mutagenic; mutagenesis; mutagenize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mutagen in Medicine


[myōōtə-jən, -jĕn′]


An agent, such as ultraviolet light or a radioactive element, that can induce or increase the frequency of mutation in an organism.
Related formsmu′ta•genic′ta•geni•cal•ly′ta•ge•nici•ty (-jə-nĭsĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

mutagen in Culture


[(myooh-tuh-juhn, myooh-tuh-jen)]

Something that causes mutations in living things. Mutagens include chemicals, such as drugs or toxins, and radiation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.