One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A volatile poisonous compound found in hemlock and other plants. It affects the motor nerves, causing paralysis and asphyxia.
- ‘Like Homo sapiens, animals take important cues from smell and know to stay away from flowers like the dreaded Douglas water hemlock, whose broad white blossoms contain coniine, which is deadly.’
- ‘Other alkaloids that have been identified in hemlock are methyl coniine, ethyl piperidine and pseudoconhydrine.’
- ‘They include poisons such as nicotine, coniine, and strychnine.’
- ‘If coniine is a secondary amine, what is its structure?’
- ‘It is the poison coniine that produces the flying effect.’
Mid 19th century: from Latin conium (from Greek kōneion ‘hemlock’) + -ine.
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