nounChemistry , dated
Any of a group of amine compounds of unpleasant taste and odour formed in putrefying animal and vegetable matter and formerly thought to cause food poisoning.
- Being in town, I warily went along to the Colorado Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, a ballet I normally prefer only slightly to ptomaine poisoning.
- The Mayor and Mayoress of Doncaster had been suffering from ptomaine poisoning, caused by eating pigeon pie provided for their guests at an entertainment at the Mansion House.
- According to the old Eclectic doctors it proved to be universally successful in the treatment of every case of ptomaine poisoning.
Late 19th century: from French ptomaïne, from Italian ptomaina, formed irregularly from Greek ptōma 'corpse'.
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