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[boch-uh-liz-uh m] /ˈbɒtʃ əˌlɪz əm/
noun, Pathology
a sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system acquired from spoiled foods in which botulin is present, especially improperly canned or marinated foods.
Origin of botulism
1875-80; < German Botulismus, equivalent to Latin botul(us) sausage (a source of botulin toxin) + -ismus -ism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for botulism
  • Canning tomatoes need high acid to help prevent botulism.
  • And the iced botulism on this cake is the threat to the banking system.
  • Fish eat the infected shellfish and are killed by the botulism toxins, ending up washed up on the beach.
  • Doctors suggested it might be cholera or typhus, or perhaps it was dengue fever or botulism.
  • Researchers have developed a potent weapon against the paralyzing disease botulism.
British Dictionary definitions for botulism


severe poisoning from ingestion of botulin, which affects the central nervous system producing difficulty in swallowing, visual disturbances, and respiratory paralysis: often fatal
Word Origin
C19: first formed as German Botulismus literally: sausage poisoning, from Latin botulus sausage
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for botulism

1878, from German Botulismus (1878), coined in German from Latin botulus "sausage" (see bowel) + -ismus suffix of action or state (see -ism). Sickness first traced to eating tainted sausage (sausage poisoning was an old name for it).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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botulism in Medicine

botulism bot·u·lism (bŏch'ə-lĭz'əm)
A severe, sometimes fatal food poisoning caused by ingestion of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum in improperly canned or preserved food and characterized by nausea, vomiting, disturbed vision, and paralysis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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botulism in Science
A severe, sometimes fatal food poisoning caused by eating food infected with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which produces botulinum toxin. The bacterium grows in food that has been improperly preserved.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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botulism in Culture
botulism [(boch-uh-liz-uhm)]

A severe form of food poisoning, often fatal if not treated quickly. Botulism is caused by a kind of bacterium that produces a toxin, and it is sometimes present in improperly canned or preserved foods.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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