SKIP TO CONTENT

toxin

A toxin is an organic poison — it’s made by plants and animals. Toxins make people sick. If your appendix bursts, toxins are released into your blood stream. Also breathing in a toxin like ricin will make you very ill.

Toxins are naturally occurring poisons. There are the toxins your body creates and some that animals and plants excrete. Some are harmful — getting stung by a stingray can kill you because its toxin is powerful. Toxin is the noun form of toxic. The most dangerous kind of toxin is the botulinus toxin, which is the kind found in the bacteria of spoiled food and is used to make Botox. Another dangerous toxin, ricin, is made from castor beans.

Definitions of toxin
  1. noun
    a poisonous substance produced during the metabolism and growth of certain microorganisms and some higher plant and animal species
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 26 types...
    hide 26 types...
    ricin, ricin toxin
    a toxic protein extracted from castor beans; used as a chemical reagent; can be used as a bioweapon
    animal toxin, zootoxin
    a toxin resembling bacterial toxins in its antigenic properties that is found in the fluids of certain animals
    bacterial toxin
    any endotoxin or exotoxin formed in or elaborated by bacterial cells
    cytotoxin
    any substance that has a toxic effect on cells
    endotoxin
    a toxin that is confined inside the microorganisms and is released only when the microorganisms are broken down or die
    exotoxin
    a toxin that is secreted by microorganisms into the surrounding medium
    hepatotoxin
    any toxin that affects the liver
    nephrotoxin
    any toxin that affects the kidneys
    neurolysin, neurotoxin
    any toxin that affects neural tissues
    phytotoxin, plant toxin
    any substance produced by plants that is similar in its properties to extracellular bacterial toxin
    botulinum toxin
    any of several neurotoxins that are produced by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum; causes muscle paralysis
    domoic acid
    a neurotoxin that is deadly for humans; found in various marine algae
    Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin, epsilon toxin
    a bacterial toxin produced by clostridium perfringens; causes intense abdominal cramps and diarrhea that begins 8-22 hours after consumption of foods containing large numbers of these bacteria
    nicotine
    an alkaloid poison that occurs in tobacco; used in medicine and as an insecticide
    strychnine
    an alkaloid plant toxin extracted chiefly from nux vomica; formerly used as a stimulant
    brucine
    a bitter alkaloid poison resembling strychnine and extracted from nux vomica
    hemlock
    poisonous drug derived from an Eurasian plant of the genus Conium
    saxitoxin
    a powerful neurotoxin produced by certain dinoflagellates found in red tides; it can accumulate in mollusks that feed on the dinoflagellates and cause food poisoning to humans
    anatoxin, toxoid
    a bacterial toxin that has been weakened until it is no longer toxic but is strong enough to induce the formation of antibodies and immunity to the specific disease caused by the toxin
    botulin, botulinus toxin, botulismotoxin
    potent bacterial toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that causes botulism; can be used as a bioweapon
    enterotoxin
    a cytotoxin specific for the cells of the intestinal mucosa
    mycotoxin
    a toxin produced by a fungus
    venom
    toxin secreted by animals; secreted by certain snakes and poisonous insects (e.g., spiders and scorpions)
    kokoi venom
    a potent neurotoxin found in a particular frog
    tetrodotoxin
    a powerful neurotoxin found in the ovaries of pufferfish
    curare, tubocurarine
    a toxic alkaloid found in certain tropical South American trees that is a powerful relaxant for striated muscles
    type of:
    poison, poisonous substance, toxicant
    any substance that causes injury or illness or death of a living organism
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week