Definition of poisonous in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpoiz(ə)nəs/


1(Of a substance or plant) causing or capable of causing death or illness if taken into the body: poisonous chemicals
More example sentences
  • The licence is available to any member of the public providing they adhere to a set of 14 conditions which include not removing soil from the land or planting any poisonous trees or shrubs on it.
  • There are no medical records anywhere in the world where people live with poisonous substances in their bodies.
  • Detoxification once referred to the process of removing some specific poisonous substance from the body.
1.1(Of an animal) producing poison as a means of attacking enemies or prey; venomous: a poisonous snake
More example sentences
  • But the hole had its dangers; if the pot broke or cracked, the guerrilla could be attacked by poisonous spiders or snakes.
  • The tropical climate can be uncomfortable and brings the inevitable insects and poisonous creatures.
  • Now, everyone knows the black snake is a poisonous creature.
1.2Extremely unpleasant or malicious: there was a poisonous atmosphere at the office
More example sentences
  • The crack was good natured throughout, a pleasing change from some of the poisonous atmospheres we have all witnessed whenever matches between historical rivals take place.
  • From its very first moments, Druick conjures up the poisonous atmosphere of a world ruled by fear and rumour where truth is merely the whim of an absolute monarch.
  • Mark Malloch Brown claims that the atmosphere is growing poisonous as insiders in the UN's headquarters in New York attempt to stall reform.


Poisonous and venomous are not identical in meaning, although they are often used interchangeably. A poisonous animal or plant produces toxins that are harmful when the animal or plant is touched or eaten, whereas a venomous snake or other creature is able to inject venom by means of its fangs, spines, or stingers.



Example sentences
  • If you'd suggested - two years, a year, even two months ago - that cuneiform diaries would become a poisonously partisan issue, you'd have been laughed out of whatever chatroom you'd wandered into.
  • You will, however, have to do some digging: once to plant the seed potatoes; once to earth them up to prevent the new tubers growing on the surface and becoming poisonously green; and once to lift the resultant crop.
  • When someone says something stupid - I mean, poisonously, ludicrously stupid - the advertisers on that site have to take a stand.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: poi·son·ous

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