Definition of toxic in English:



  • 1Poisonous.

    ‘the dumping of toxic waste’
    ‘alcohol is toxic to the ovaries’
    • ‘Remedies vary in strength according to the needs of the patient, and sometimes according to the substance itself if it is particularly poisonous or toxic.’
    • ‘When using insecticides and other toxic chemicals, cover your skin with gloves, long sleeves, a hat and a mask.’
    • ‘There weren't any chemical factories or toxic waste dumps or traffic, just a few goats and olive trees.’
    • ‘So this bug, it's not so much the germ itself infecting the body that causes the problem, it's the fact that the germ itself produces the toxic chemical?’
    • ‘It is a complex global environmental hazard, with knock-on effects, and is unlike exposure to a dose of some specific toxic chemical or radiation.’
    • ‘All of these developmental processes are extraordinarily complex and can be disrupted by toxic chemicals.’
    • ‘The aforementioned facts make justification for continued use of this toxic chemical questionable.’
    • ‘You should avoid toxic substances and chemicals at work and at home.’
    • ‘Perhaps you could put all the pills in one container and take them to your municipal dump as household toxic waste.’
    • ‘Several potentially toxic chemicals are used as raw materials in the foam-manufacturing process.’
    • ‘Formalin is a dangerous toxic chemical that should be handled with caution.’
    • ‘Some waste materials that are highly poisonous are considered toxic wastes.’
    • ‘Campaigners looking to stop a Westbury cement works burning waste products are urging residents to have their blood tested for toxic chemicals.’
    • ‘The cells will literally fractionate open, and they spill all their toxic chemicals into their environment and that can be very damaging indeed.’
    • ‘And yet it's a fine balance, because Vitamin A is also known to be a highly toxic chemical for the foetus.’
    • ‘I have a friend who is selling a product that is supposed to eliminate up to 30 pounds of toxic waste from the colon.’
    • ‘That process produces very toxic chemical and gaseous waste and should be avoided.’
    • ‘Such analysis, for example, leads to the conclusion that toxic waste should preferably be dumped on to the developing world.’
    • ‘And are you suggesting that that's some occupational exposure to toxic chemicals or something like that?’
    • ‘Potentially toxic chemicals also are known by-products of laser smoke.’
    poisonous, venomous, virulent, noxious, dangerous, destructive, harmful, unsafe, malignant, injurious, pestilential, pernicious, environmentally unfriendly
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    1. 1.1 Relating to or caused by poison.
      ‘toxic hazards’
      ‘toxic liver injury’
      • ‘High concentrations of a variety of metal ion complexes are known to be harmful because of their toxic and genotoxic effects.’
      • ‘Table 3 gives the relative acute toxic exposure hazards to the applicator of some of the more common pesticides.’
      • ‘Working conditions are often hazardous, industrial accidents and toxic exposures are common.’
      • ‘Alas, celebrations of the lowest and the last all present a chronic toxic hazard, an endless potential for slippage.’
      • ‘And the converse is true - if you take huge amounts of copper you can block zinc and you can perhaps develop some toxic problems in the liver.’
      • ‘He gave the medical cause of death as toxic injury caused by an unknown substance.’
      • ‘Operations continued throughout the night with the first of two toxic hazard exercises getting emergency teams moving early.’
      • ‘A toxic, overworked liver can contribute to problems with weight gain.’
      • ‘Central to the ability to protect our communities and families is exercising our right to know about toxic hazards.’
      • ‘Liver biopsy revealed features most consistent with toxic or drug induced liver damage.’
      • ‘DU is less radioactive than other isotopes and is officially considered to be more of a toxic than a radiological hazard.’
      • ‘Although it can be an irritant to those with asthma or respiratory disease, it is not known to pose any toxic hazard.’
      • ‘Animal studies have indicated that high levels may produce toxic effects in the testes, liver, spleen and skin.’
      • ‘All borehole waters caused toxic effects on the strawberry plants consistent with chloride injury.’
    2. 1.2 Very bad, unpleasant, or harmful.
      ‘a toxic relationship’
      • ‘Taken together, this breed of politics and the social relations they upheld created a toxic atmosphere of corruption.’
      • ‘A favorable aspect from Mars bestows the faith to let go of toxic situations and to seek new and exciting adventures.’
      • ‘The toxic nonsense about ‘public plays’ and ‘grand themes’ arises largely from this muddy water.’
      • ‘It's so important to forgive and move forward, because that's negativity and it's toxic to the body and to the mind.’
      • ‘It has poisoned the people, their land and water with the toxic residue of the war.’
      • ‘In so many subtle ways, intimate relationships are today presented as toxic and harmful.’
      • ‘I mean, really, what would you love to do in this situation if you aren't left numb from the toxic encounter?’
      • ‘This inevitably creates a highly toxic and explosive political situation.’
      • ‘I understand their internal polling describes the situation as toxic.’
  • 2Finance
    Denoting or relating to debt which has a high risk of default.

    ‘toxic debts’
    • ‘So a lot of people at risk here with these toxic loans which are really bad deals for consumers.’
    1. 2.1 Denoting securities which are based on toxic debt and for which there is not a healthy or functioning market.
      ‘the financial system has become clogged with toxic assets’
      • ‘These were designed to take away the uncertainty in interbank lending, the uncertainty whose cause was the existence of toxic assets on each others ' balance sheets.’
      • ‘The Japanese never took those toxic assets off their banks and for that reason they experienced ten years of an absolutely crumby economy.’
      • ‘Who better to manage the "toxic assets" of a failed bank than professional bond fund managers?’
      • ‘That's slowing him down as he races to clean up the toxic assets infecting the nation's top banks.’
      • ‘Many of the toxic assets have been bundled and resold many times over with favourable credit ratings.’


  • Poisonous substances.

    • ‘The major goal of environmental rehabilitation is to stop the leakages: topsoil and cutbanks bleeding as sediment into streams, toxics or heavy metals traveling in groundwater plumes and runoff, nutrients leaching from farms.’
    • ‘Remember me from that award-winning movie on fighting toxics?’
    • ‘We would also want to end the exemption from taxation that diesel currently enjoys, to bring it into line with petrol, and we would bring in other eco-taxes on a range of areas such as Crown resource rentals, toxics, and waste.’
    • ‘The problem, she explains, is that several EPA programs, including water, toxics, and research and development, could compete for funds slated for a single objective - say, cleaner lakes.’
    • ‘No road can be engineered to collect all pathogens, trash, and toxics the road generates so that none of these materials enter adjacent waterways.’
    • ‘They made diesel engines that they knew would pollute, chugging out tons of toxics that cause everything from respiratory diseases to cancer.’
    • ‘The toxics dumped in these factory pens contaminate the surrounding water, as does the enormous amount of fish waste - a single pen produces more waste than a small city, and these outfits typically have 20 pens each.’
    • ‘EPA's limited regulation of air toxics was especially poor when contrasted with the federal regulation promulgated to control air pollutants in the workplace.’
    • ‘That's an annual diet of about 300 pounds of toxics - many known to be cancer-causers - for every man, woman, and child in Convent.’
    • ‘During his last 30 years, Brower expanded his gospel of American wilderness issues to include everything from nuclear weapons to solar energy, toxics, population growth, and dolphin-safe tuna.’
    • ‘The second line of defense against avoidable carcinogenic exposures is the reduction or phase-out of toxics in use.’
    • ‘One purpose of environmental literature, as literature, is to express not just the joy of the wide-open spaces, but also what it feels like to be ‘nuked’ in southern Utah, be a victim of toxics, be deprived of an ancestral place in the sun.’
    • ‘The GAO cited ‘significant data gaps’ in eight problem areas, including pesticides, air toxics, and aquatic ecosystem health.’
    • ‘And when we started the program we found ourselves in the midst of a national movement - there were literally hundreds of other groups around the country in communities of color, most of them focused on toxics.’
    • ‘Most rehab projects close old wounds (the leaking toxics or sediment) and jazz up eco-complexity.’
    • ‘These spritzings can contain chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, and other deadly problems, and it's doubly bad to put these toxics on a yard where children and pets romp and roll around.’
    • ‘In addition, the center's decking was pressure-treated without the use of arsenic or other toxics.’
    • ‘Once the fever gets under way it generates its own toxics.’
    • ‘The GeoCup, slated for release in 2003, uses plantation wood fibers, agricultural tree-free content, and ‘benign chemistry’ to minimize toxics in paper production.’
    • ‘If these toxics leach out of the landfill or, more likely, escape from incinerator stacks, they can pollute aquatic environments and cause human symptoms ranging from headaches to an increased risk of cancer.’


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin toxicus ‘poisoned’, from Latin toxicum ‘poison’, from Greek toxikon (pharmakon) ‘(poison for) arrows’, from toxon ‘bow’.