Poi"son (?), n. [F. poison, in
Old French also, a potion, fr. L. potio a drink, draught,
potion, a poisonous draught, fr. potare to drink. See
Potable, and cf. Potion.] 1. Any
agent which, when introduced into the animal organism, is capable of
producing a morbid, noxious, or deadly effect upon it; as, morphine is
a deadly poison; the poison of pestilential
2. That which taints or destroys moral purity
or health; as, the poison of evil example; the poison of
Poison ash. (Bot.) (a)
A tree of the genus Amyris (A. balsamifera) found in
the West Indies, from the trunk of which a black liquor distills,
supposed to have poisonous qualities. (b) The
poison sumac (Rhus venenata). [U. S.] -- Poison
dogwood (Bot.), poison sumac. --
Poison fang (Zoöl.), one of the
superior maxillary teeth of some species of serpents, which, besides
having the cavity for the pulp, is either perforated or grooved by a
longitudinal canal, at the lower end of which the duct of the poison
gland terminates. See Illust. under Fang. --
Poison gland (Biol.), a gland, in animals
or plants, which secretes an acrid or venomous matter, that is
conveyed along an organ capable of inflicting a wound. --
Poison hemlock (Bot.), a poisonous
umbelliferous plant (Conium maculatum). See
Hemlock. -- Poison ivy (Bot.),
a poisonous climbing plant (Rhus Toxicodendron) of North
America. It is common on stone walls and on the trunks of trees, and
has trifoliate, rhombic-ovate, variously notched leaves. Many people
are poisoned by it, if they touch the leaves. See Poison sumac.
Called also poison oak, and mercury. --
Poison nut. (Bot.) (a)
Nux vomica. (b) The tree which yields
this seed (Strychnos Nuxvomica). It is found on the Malabar and
Coromandel coasts. -- Poison oak (Bot.),
the poison ivy; also, the more shrubby Rhus diversiloba of
California and Oregon. -- Poison sac.
(Zoöl.) Same as Poison gland, above. See
Illust. under Fang. -- Poison
sumac (Bot.), a poisonous shrub of the genus
Rhus (R. venenata); -- also called poison ash,
poison dogwood, and poison elder. It has pinnate leaves
on graceful and slender common petioles, and usually grows in swampy
places. Both this plant and the poison ivy (Rhus Toxicodendron)
have clusters of smooth greenish white berries, while the red-fruited
species of this genus are harmless. The tree (Rhus vernicifera)
which yields the celebrated Japan lacquer is almost identical with the
poison sumac, and is also very poisonous. The juice of the poison
sumac also forms a lacquer similar to that of Japan.
Syn. -- Venom; virus; bane; pest; malignity. --
Poison, Venom. Poison usually denotes something
received into the system by the mouth, breath, etc. Venom is
something discharged from animals and received by means of a wound, as
by the bite or sting of serpents, scorpions, etc. Hence, venom
specifically implies some malignity of nature or purpose.
Poi"son, v. i. To act as, or
convey, a poison.
Tooth that poisons if it bite.
Poi"son, v. t. [imp. & p.
p. Poisoned (?); p. pr. & vb. n.
Poisoning.] [Cf. OF. poisonner, F. empoissoner,
L. potionare to give to drink. See Poison,
1. To put poison upon or into; to infect with
poison; as, to poison an arrow; to poison food or
drink. "The ingredients of our poisoned chalice."
2. To injure or kill by poison; to administer
If you poison us, do we not die ?
3. To taint; to corrupt; to vitiate; as, vice
poisons happiness; slander poisoned his mind.
Whispering tongues can poison