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 diseases.
<botany> 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.
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.
Origin: 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.
(01 Mar 1998)
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