toxin

[tok-sin]
noun
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:
1885–90; tox(ic) + -in2

toxic, toxin.


See poison.
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World English Dictionary
toxin (ˈtɒksɪn)
 
n
1.  endotoxin See also exotoxin any of various poisonous substances produced by microorganisms that stimulate the production of neutralizing substances (antitoxins) in the body
2.  any other poisonous substance of plant or animal origin

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

toxin
"organic poison," 1886, from L. toxicum "poison" (see toxic).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

toxin tox·in (tŏk'sĭn)
n.
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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
toxin   (tŏk'sĭn)  Pronunciation Key 
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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Example sentences
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.
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