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[kahr-sin-uh-juh n, -jen, kahr-suh-nuh-jen, -noh-] /kɑrˈsɪn ə dʒən, -ˌdʒɛn, ˈkɑr sə nəˌdʒɛn, -noʊ-/
noun, Pathology
any substance or agent that tends to produce a cancer.
Origin of carcinogen
1935-40; carcino- + -gen
Related forms
[kahr-suh-nuh-jen-ik, -noh-] /ˌkɑr sə nəˈdʒɛn ɪk, -noʊ-/ (Show IPA),
[kahr-suh-noh-juh-nis-i-tee] /ˌkɑr sə noʊ dʒəˈnɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
anticarcinogen, noun
anticarcinogenic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for carcinogen
  • It also has been linked to high blood cancer in adults and is a probably human carcinogen.
  • Cadmium is a carcinogen and long-term exposure leads to kidney and bone damage.
  • The standard dry-cleaning solvent, perchloroethylene, is a groundwater contaminant and probable human carcinogen.
  • If absorbed in moderate doses only, it can be a carcinogen.
  • It has been found to be a potential carcinogen and to be toxic to the nervous system.
  • One of the chemicals is believed to be a carcinogen.
  • But methanol is corrosive and extremely toxic, and petrol is both a carcinogen and easily ignited.
  • The harmful compounds in petroleum absent from renewable diesel include benzene, which becomes an airborne carcinogen when burned.
  • And benzene wasn't the only deadly carcinogen the plant was spewing.
  • It is reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen in humans, based on experiments with animals.
British Dictionary definitions for carcinogen


/kɑːˈsɪnədʒən; ˈkɑːsɪnəˌdʒɛn/
(pathol) any substance that produces cancer
Derived Forms
carcinogenic, adjective
carcinogenicity, noun
Word Origin
C20: from Greek karkinoscancer + -gen
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 carcinogen

"cancer-causing substance," 1853, from carcinoma + -gen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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carcinogen in Medicine

carcinogen car·cin·o·gen (kär-sĭn'ə-jən, kär'sə-nə-jěn')
A cancer-causing substance or agent.

car'cin·o·gen'ic (kär'sə-nə-jěn'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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carcinogen in Science
A substance or agent that can cause cells to become cancerous by altering their genetic structure so that they multiply continuously and become malignant. Asbestos, DDT, and tobacco smoke are examples of carcinogens.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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