Definition of botulism in English:



  • [mass noun] Food poisoning caused by a bacterium growing on improperly sterilized tinned meats and other preserved foods.

    • ‘Epidemics of botulism and cholera exacted a heavy toll on waterfowl in the West.’
    • ‘The minister identified plague, ebola, smallpox, anthrax, tularaemia and botulism as the main biological threats.’
    • ‘Like anthrax, bacteria that produce botulism also occur in spore form in contaminated soil, although that's rare.’
    • ‘The bacteria which cause botulism cannot grow in acid conditions, so acid foods such as canned fruit and tomatoes need be heated only just enough to bring the centre of the can to boiling point.’
    • ‘Growth of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum in canned food may cause botulism - a deadly form of food poisoning.’
    • ‘And he took the observation that with the food poisoning called botulism, one of the first symptoms was crossed eyes, or drooping of the lids.’
    • ‘Exhausting or venting of pressure canners is necessary to prevent a risk of botulism in low-acid canned foods.’
    • ‘Botulism, in particular botulism due to wounds, is rare.’
    • ‘Other infectious diseases that pose a threat include plague, tularemia, botulism and tuberculosis.’
    • ‘In 1897, Van Ermengen related botulism to a bacterial toxin.’
    • ‘The deadly botulism variety of food poisoning, usually from improperly canned food items, can be put to good use.’
    • ‘This is the same bacterial nerve toxin that causes botulism, an illness which causes muscle weakness or paralysis.’
    • ‘Patients exposed to anthrax and botulism should be cared for using standard precautions.’
    • ‘In particular it wants assurances that the checks the industry has in place to ensure that the bacteria causing botulism does not get into baby products are adequate.’
    • ‘Rarely, bacteria that produce botulism may also occur in spore form in contaminated soil.’
    • ‘Wound botulism occurs when the bacteria infect a person's wound, and the toxin is produced inside of it.’
    • ‘Dr Edmiston explained how anthrax, smallpox variola virus, botulism, and pneumonic plague fit the criteria.’
    • ‘An infant can acquire botulism by ingesting Clostridium botulinum spores, which are found in soil or honey products.’
    • ‘It was identified in the 1820s as the bacterium found in contaminated food that causes botulism.’
    • ‘Honey can contain bacterial spores that cause infant botulism - a potentially fatal form of food poisoning.’


Late 19th century: from German Botulismus, originally sausage poisoning, from Latin botulus sausage.