[ ven-uhm ]
See synonyms for: venomvenomedvenoming on

  1. the poisonous fluid that some animals, as certain snakes and spiders, secrete and introduce into the bodies of their victims by biting, stinging, etc.

  2. something resembling or suggesting poison in its effect; spite; malice: the venom of jealousy.

  1. Archaic. poison in general.

verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to make venomous; envenom.

Origin of venom

First recorded in 1175–1225; variant of Middle English venim, from Anglo-French; Old French venim, venin, from (unattested) Vulgar Latin venīmen, for Latin venēnum “magical herb or potion, poison,” from (unattested) wenes-nom, equivalent to (unattested) wenes- desire (see venerate, Venus) + (unattested) -nom noun suffix

synonym study For venom

1. See poison.

Other words for venom

Other words from venom

  • ven·om·less, adjective
  • outvenom, verb (used with object)
  • un·ven·omed, adjective

Words Nearby venom Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use venom in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for venom


/ (ˈvɛnəm) /

  1. a poisonous fluid secreted by such animals as certain snakes and scorpions and usually transmitted by a bite or sting

  2. malice; spite

Origin of venom

C13: from Old French venim, from Latin venēnum poison, love potion; related to venus sexual love

Derived forms of venom

  • venomless, adjective
  • venomous, adjective
  • venomously, adverb
  • venomousness, 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

Scientific definitions for venom


[ vĕnəm ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.