One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Make (someone) immune to a poison by administering gradually increasing doses of the poison.
- ‘And to crown it all, it mithridatized the Ethiopian people to the future secession of Eritrea by incorporating the right of unconditional secession in the Transition Charter.’
- ‘The film is really very lovely, and I am NOT saying that because I am by now sufficiently mithridatized to no longer cringe when I see myself on a screen.’
- ‘Few possibilities to stay awake at 4am, since I am completely mithridatized with caffeine since my student years: An espresso at 2am is 100% helpless, no effect at all.’
Mid 19th century: from the name of Mithridates (see Mithridates VI), who reputedly made himself immune to poisons by constantly taking antidotes, + -ize.
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