Meaning of poisonous in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpɔɪzənəs/

See synonyms for poisonous

Translate poisonous into Spanish


  • 1(of a substance or plant) causing or capable of causing death or illness if taken into the body.

    ‘poisonous chemicals’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And some plants may transfer the poisonous chemicals to their food.’
    • ‘If you have young children think twice before planting poisonous trees.’
    • ‘These junkyards have to be removed as poisonous chemicals and substances flow into the river and the lake through these places.’
    • ‘All living organisms, including humans, are constantly exposed to foreign substances and poisonous chemicals or toxins.’
    • ‘At least one other kind of fern is immediately poisonous, so such plants are not to be tasted at random.’
    • ‘A wayward camera does not help student wizards to catapult malevolent plants at poisonous mushrooms or send explosive cauldrons flying into barriers.’
    • ‘The police sent the viscera of the woman for chemical examination to find out if the death was caused by some poisonous substance.’
    • ‘He also advised parents to lock up all detergents and poisonous substances, together with matches, lighters, pitch oil, guns and ammunition.’
    • ‘He further alleged that her in-laws made his sister drink milk laced with some poisonous substance.’
    • ‘She allegedly consumed some poisonous substance.’
    • ‘According to Lenin, as a consequence, the families are surviving on poisonous grass and wild mushrooms for the last four years.’
    • ‘The American courts for criminal procedure have stuck to a strong tradition of oppressing the fruits of the poisonous trees.’
    • ‘These pills are poisonous substances intending to end life.’
    • ‘It could be, and it's a doctrine that John knows well, the fruit of the poisonous tree.’
    • ‘Eating, for example, offers an avenue for ingesting tainted or poisonous food resulting in serious illness or death.’
    • ‘Older brothers or sisters should be supervised when around a baby to stop them feeding tablets or other poisonous substances to the baby.’
    • ‘The hemlock of the title refers to the evergreen tree, rather than to the poisonous herb that was the means of Socrates' forced suicide.’
    toxic, deadly, fatal, lethal, mortal, death-dealing, virulent, noxious, environmentally unfriendly
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of an animal) producing poison as a means of attacking enemies or prey; venomous.
      ‘a poisonous snake’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dangerous and wild animals, like poisonous snakes and stinging ants, inhabited their rain forests.’
      • ‘In case the Regent's Park buildings should be involved in an air raid, all the poisonous insects and snakes have been destroyed.’
      • ‘Primitive humans would have needed to avoid certain species of animals, as we do now, such as venomous snakes, poisonous frogs, tarantulas and wolves.’
      • ‘There are no poisonous snakes or insects and no malaria.’
      • ‘They are also taught which animals to avoid like poisonous snakes, though they sometimes must learn on their own the hard way.’
      • ‘The swamps are infested with poisonous snakes and fearsome insects with bites so strong they will either kill a man or drive him mad.’
      • ‘The area abounded with poisonous snakes and insects, and I was continually amazed that none of the other children was bitten.’
      • ‘Lower in status were the scorpion-charmers, who used magic to rid an area of poisonous reptiles and insects.’
      • ‘From now on, special licences will be needed to own potentially dangerous pets, such as snakes or poisonous spiders.’
      • ‘Then it occurred to me that Tuscany was no more infested with nasty poisonous creatures than the peaceful county of Norththamptonshire, where I reside without any fear at all.’
      • ‘A snake or poisonous spider bites in a single spot, but the box jelly's venom enters a victim's body over a very large area.’
      • ‘Sea snakes are among the most poisonous creatures in the coral reef areas, described by scientists to rival a cobra.’
      • ‘There will be some books on spotting bird species, and, if abroad, a rather worrying one on identifying poisonous insects and arachnids.’
      • ‘I've been to Darwin and there's nothing there but poisonous spiders and snakes, so this man must be bored out of his head.’
      • ‘Man-eating saltwater crocodiles lurk in nearby estuaries along with the deadly box jellyfish, the most poisonous creature on earth.’
      • ‘The poisonous insects are known to cause a horrible rash if tiny hairs from their bodies come into contact with a person's skin and they can also spark asthma and hay fever attacks.’
      • ‘No, he likes the light here real good, but the puff adder is animal that has the longest fangs amongst any poisonous snake in the world.’
      venomous, deadly
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Extremely unpleasant or malicious.
      ‘there was a poisonous atmosphere at the office’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jennette Fitzsimmons once said that there was a poisonous atmosphere within the party, it seems as though she is right’
      • ‘The atmosphere became so poisonous and paranoid and mixed up that towards the end neither Simpson nor Yates was really talking to me.’
      • ‘But the poisonous atmosphere is unlikely to help the trusts perform any better.’
      • ‘It also helps to create a poisonous atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust.’
      • ‘A number of parents will not take their children to the games because of the poisonous atmosphere.’
      • ‘For our choice would be starkly simple: to forgive the perpetrator or succumb to a poisonous thirst for vindication and revenge.’
      • ‘The US, because we are wealthy and powerful, is going to be slandered as a poisonous cultural wasteland.’
      • ‘The media, staffers and politicians feed off this poisonous atmosphere in a building that contains some fine art and architecture, but no soul and no warmth.’
      • ‘From the outset, he has faced two obstacles: impossibly high expectations and a political atmosphere that can only be described as poisonous.’
      • ‘He talked at some length about how the atmosphere in D.C. was more poisonous than he had ever seen.’
      • ‘The atmosphere surrounding this dispute has gradually changed from fraught to poisonous.’
      malicious, malevolent, hostile, vicious, spiteful, bitter, venomous, evil-intentioned, ill-natured, vindictive, vengeful, vitriolic, rancorous, malign, malignant, pernicious, mean, nasty, harmful, hurtful, wounding
      View synonyms


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