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[sahy-uh-nahyd, -nid] /ˈsaɪ əˌnaɪd, -nɪd/
Also, cyanid, C10/C1079000 sahy-uh-nid, ˈsaɪ ə nɪd. Chemistry.
  1. a salt of hydrocyanic acid, as potassium cyanide, KCN.
  2. a nitrile, as methyl cyanide, C 2 H 3 N.
verb (used with object), cyanided, cyaniding.
to treat with a cyanide, as an ore in order to extract gold.
Origin of cyanide
1820-30; cyan-3 + -ide
Related forms
subcyanid, noun
subcyanide, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cyanide
  • The new business proved more lucrative than sneaking cyanide to the coral reefs.
  • Many poor fishermen add to reef destruction by using cyanide to stun and capture live fish for the aquarium trade.
  • But within months it was ordered to shut down after twice spilling cyanide into local waterways.
  • And extracting it from this rock often means leaching it out with cyanide.
  • Nothing will guarantee you never fall ill as surely as a heaping tablespoon of cyanide.
  • Meteors, comets or primordial ponds of hydrogen cyanide would still need to provide those molecules.
  • So, let's make some pills of pure arsenic or cyanide and challenge them to swallow them.
  • Nothing comes near this mushroom-neither bird nor insect-because of its cyanide odor.
  • Milk is indigestible only to some people, but cyanide is poisonous to all.
  • Fearing exposure, he kept the cyanide for the rest of the war.
British Dictionary definitions for cyanide


any salt of hydrocyanic acid. Cyanides contain the ion CN and are extremely poisonous
another name (not in technical usage) for nitrile
Derived Forms
cyanidation, noun
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 cyanide

a salt of hydrocyanic acid, 1826, coined from cyan-, comb. form for carbon and nitrogen compounds, from Greek kyanos "dark blue" (see cyan) + chemical ending -ide, on analogy of chloride. So called because it first had been obtained by heating the dye pigment powder known as Prussian blue (see Prussian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cyanide in Medicine

cyanide cy·a·nide (sī'ə-nīd') or cy·a·nid (-nĭd)
Any of various salts or esters of hydrogen cyanide containing a CN group, especially the extremely poisonous compounds potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cyanide in Science
Any of a large group of chemical compounds containing the radical CN, especially the very poisonous salts sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide. Cyanides are used to make plastics and to extract and treat metals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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