Definition of toxic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtäksik/


1Poisonous: the dumping of toxic waste alcohol is toxic to the ovaries
More example sentences
  • Some waste materials that are highly poisonous are considered toxic wastes.
  • There weren't any chemical factories or toxic waste dumps or traffic, just a few goats and olive trees.
  • And yet it's a fine balance, because Vitamin A is also known to be a highly toxic chemical for the foetus.
poisonous, virulent, noxious, deadly, dangerous, harmful, injurious, pernicious
1.1Relating to or caused by poison: toxic hazards toxic liver injury
More example sentences
  • Operations continued throughout the night with the first of two toxic hazard exercises getting emergency teams moving early.
  • Table 3 gives the relative acute toxic exposure hazards to the applicator of some of the more common pesticides.
  • He gave the medical cause of death as toxic injury caused by an unknown substance.
1.2Very bad, unpleasant, or harmful: a toxic relationship
More example sentences
  • A favorable aspect from Mars bestows the faith to let go of toxic situations and to seek new and exciting adventures.
  • In so many subtle ways, intimate relationships are today presented as toxic and harmful.
  • It's so important to forgive and move forward, because that's negativity and it's toxic to the body and to the mind.
2 Finance Denoting or relating to debt that has a high risk of default.
Example sentences
  • So a lot of people at risk here with these toxic loans which are really bad deals for consumers.
2.1Denoting securities that are based on toxic debt and for which there is not a healthy or functioning market: the financial system has become clogged with toxic assets
More example sentences
  • That's slowing him down as he races to clean up the toxic assets infecting the nation's top banks.
  • Who better to manage the "toxic assets" of a failed bank than professional bond fund managers?
  • These were designed to take away the uncertainty in interbank lending, the uncertainty whose cause was the existence of toxic assets on each others ' balance sheets.


Poisonous substances.
Example sentences
  • The GAO cited ‘significant data gaps’ in eight problem areas, including pesticides, air toxics, and aquatic ecosystem health.
  • No road can be engineered to collect all pathogens, trash, and toxics the road generates so that none of these materials enter adjacent waterways.
  • They made diesel engines that they knew would pollute, chugging out tons of toxics that cause everything from respiratory diseases to cancer.



Pronunciation: /ˈtäksək(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • This seed of psychological denial festered toxically when the New England entrepreneurs abandoned overseas trade and discovered manufacturing labor relations and factories at home.
  • He pulled himself from his room with all the enthusiasm of a pallbearer, irritation mixing toxically with his present self-hatred as he chased them lazily through the unit.
  • From within the amalgam, I was surprised to detect a hint of cigar smoke, a Black and Mild, and that scent whisked me quickly back to ballparks and football fields, where I had happily inhaled the toxically sweet fumes many times before.


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin toxicus 'poisoned', from Latin toxicum 'poison', from Greek toxikon (pharmakon) '(poison for) arrows', from toxon 'bow'.

  • Toxic is from medieval Latin toxicus ‘poisoned’: this comes from the Greek phrase toxikon (pharmakon) ‘(poison for) arrows’, from toxon ‘bow’. Intoxicate (Late Middle English) comes from the related toxicum ‘a poison’. The association with alcohol is found from the late 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tox·ic

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