noun Chemistry.
a general name for a family of chlorinated hydrocarbons, C 12 H 4 Cl 4 O 2 , typically used to refer to one isomer, TCDD, a by-product of pesticide manufacture: a toxic compound that is carcinogenic and teratogenic in certain animals.
Also called TCDD.
Compare Agent Orange.

1965–70; di-1 + ox- + -in2

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World English Dictionary
dioxin (daɪˈɒksɪn)
any of a number of mostly poisonous chemical by-products of the manufacture of certain herbicides and bactericides, esp the extremely toxic 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin

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Word Origin & History

1919, from dioxy- + chemical suffix -in. All the compounds in the group are characterized by two oxygen atoms.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

dioxin di·ox·in (dī-ŏk'sĭn)
Any of several carcinogenic or teratogenic heterocyclic hydrocarbons that occur as impurities in petroleum-derived herbicides.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
dioxin   (dī-ŏk'sĭn)  Pronunciation Key 
Any of several toxic hydrocarbons that occur as impurities in petroleum-derived herbicides, disinfectants, and other products. Dioxins are composed of two benzene rings connected by two oxygen atoms, and the most familiar kind, called TCDD, has two chlorine atoms attached to each benzene ring. TCDD was once thought to cause cancer and birth defects, but subsequent research showed it to have only mild toxic effects except at very high exposure levels.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
dioxin [(deye-ok-sin)]

A group of pollutants created as by-products in many industrial processes. Dioxins accumulate in human tissue and affect human metabolism. They are carcinogens. Eliminating dioxins is an important goal of environmental policy.

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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Example sentences
The ash left over after combustion is laced with dioxin and other pollutants.
The herbicide contains the extremely toxic chemical dioxin, a byproduct of its
  manufacturing process.
Dioxin is harmless to humans, though it makes great rat poisons.
If dioxin and ionizing radiation cause cancer, then it stands to reason that
  less exposure to them should improve public health.
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