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[tok-sin] /ˈtɒk sɪn/
any poison produced by an organism, characterized by antigenicity in certain animals and high molecular weight, and including the bacterial toxins that are the causative agents of tetanus, diphtheria, etc., and such plant and animal toxins as ricin and snake venom.
Origin of toxin
1885-90; tox(ic) + -in2
Can be confused
toxic, toxin.
See poison. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for toxin
  • The evolution of toxicity and the evolution of anti-toxin strategies is considered an arms race between the eaten and the eaters.
  • Small fish consume the microbes, large fish consume the small fish, and eventually the toxin lands in kitchens.
  • In a political context in a secular society, it is a toxin that will eventually corrode civil discourse into sectarian warfare.
  • But in the texts, the actual texts, there is always this toxin that's ready to be revived.
  • The toxin is now gone, but the damage it has done is not.
  • The benefit of vomiting after eating something poisonous or tainted is obvious: the toxin is expelled.
  • But car alarms are the special toxin eating into his hide.
  • The study is preliminary, and the culprit may not be any particular toxin or even any one thing.
  • Poisons manufactured by bacteria, such as botulinum toxin, may be more suitable for terrorism.
  • In it, the animals are treated with a toxin that kills dopamine neurons.
British Dictionary definitions for toxin


any of various poisonous substances produced by microorganisms that stimulate the production of neutralizing substances (antitoxins) in the body See also endotoxin, exotoxin
any other poisonous substance of plant or animal origin
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 toxin

"organic poison," especially one produced by bacteria in an animal body, 1886, from toxic + -in (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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toxin in Medicine

toxin tox·in (tŏk'sĭn)
A poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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toxin in Science
A poisonous substance, especially one produced by a living organism. Toxins can be products or byproducts of ordinary metabolism, such as lactic acid, and they must be broken down or excreted before building up to dangerous levels. Toxins can facilitate survival, as with snake venom that kills or immobilizes prey, or cyanide produced by some plants as a defense against being eaten. Bacterial toxins can sometimes be neutralized with antitoxins. Compare antitoxin.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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