Definition of detoxify in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Remove toxic substances or qualities from.

    ‘the process uses chemical reagents to detoxify the oil’
    • ‘Before removal of the enclosures the rotenone was detoxified using an equivalent concentration of potassium permanganate.’
    • ‘At this point, it becomes difficult for the body to maintain nutritional homeostasis, utilize nutrients appropriately, synthesize plasma proteins, and detoxify noxious substances.’
    • ‘Accumulator plants produce methylated forms of selenium as a way to detoxify inorganic selenate.’
    • ‘He suspects that Parkinson patients have defects in liver enzymes that usually serve to detoxify noxious chemicals.’
    • ‘It functions to prevent the formation of superoxide radicals and detoxify a variety of foreign compounds.’
    • ‘This information is essential to estimating the importance of detecting and detoxifying ethanol in fruits.’
    • ‘In New York, restaurants that serve fugu must import fish that have been detoxified in Japan by having the poisonous parts removed and then deep frozen and shipped to the United States.’
    • ‘The body has developed various mechanisms to detoxify the toxic substances.’
    • ‘As for why the borer is able to withstand caffeine's toxic effects, there are some yeasts that detoxify chemicals, creating an edible food source for insects.’
    • ‘This discovery bears tremendous significance for the bioremediation industry, as it is the first bacterium isolated that can detoxify vinyl chloride outside of laboratory conditions.’
    • ‘This is also the process that detoxifies sulfite food additives.’
    • ‘Earlier studies had found that corn-earworm P450 genes make substances that detoxify one of celery's natural insecticides.’
    • ‘They provide sulforaphane, which fights cancer by stimulating enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing substances.’
    • ‘Not all of this glyphosate is detoxified or broken down by the genetically modified soybean.’
    • ‘I use a tap water conditioner that removes chlorine (breaks the chlorine bond) and detoxifies heavy metals.’
    • ‘A common feature of the GSTs is their ability to bind glutathione; another property is their ability to recognize and detoxify compounds with diverse chemical structures.’
    • ‘It breaks down fats and detoxifies substances like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, pesticides on produce, drugs, antibiotics, unfiltered water, chemicals, and additives in processed foods.’
    • ‘Because they are a part of the environment, the human body has developed mechanisms for eliminating or detoxifying many of these substances.’
    • ‘Carotenoids help build vitamins and are strong antioxidants - chemicals that help animals detoxify harmful molecules called free radicals.’
    • ‘ADT induces cells to make extra amounts of an enzyme that can detoxify cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke and other environmental contaminants, say the researchers.’
    1. 1.1usually be detoxified Treat (an alcoholic or drug addict) to remove the effects of drink or drugs in order to help them overcome addiction.
      ‘he was twice detoxified from heroin’
      • ‘Alcohol is frequently used by GHB abusers in an attempt to detoxify themselves from GHB; in the case of BD, alcohol may actually exacerbate and extend BD's toxic effects.’
      • ‘He said that his client had hoped a place could be found for him at Gloucester House in Highworth so he could detoxify in the community.’
      • ‘As a consequence, the vast majority of clients have been unable to receive acupuncture whilst detoxifying or trying to remain drug free.’
      • ‘If insurance problems or other factors prevent referral, it is possible to detoxify the patient on an outpatient basis.’
      • ‘She had been a heroin addict but had now detoxified and wanted to go out and see her children.’
      • ‘Most ambulatory patients with alcohol dependence can be detoxified quickly and safely without the use of psychoactive drugs.’
      • ‘After giving informed consent, participants were detoxified and entered into a 6-month outpatient naltrexone maintenance treatment program located in an urban university medical center.’
      • ‘Approximately ten to 15 patients a month chose to detoxify from heroin addiction exclusively by means of acupuncture.’
      • ‘This is to assist in the acquisition of a suitable property for a drug rehabilitation centre providing long-term accommodation and support for people who are trying to break a drug dependency addiction and detoxify in Alice Springs.’
      • ‘A study by Ray Byrne of Dublin Institute of Technology found that only 6 to 10 per cent of addicts on methadone programmes detoxify successfully.’
      • ‘For those detoxifying from alcohol, the success rate was 90%.’
      • ‘Dr McLoughlin said what was needed was a place where alcoholics could detoxify.’
      • ‘Heroin use alters the physiology of the brain and proteins that accumulate in the brain remain there even after an addict has detoxified.’
      • ‘Whereas, at the Long Beach VA Medical Center, the drug-abusing patients had initially to be detoxified before they could be admitted to the neuropsychiatric inpatient service.’
      • ‘Whereas the patients admitted to the UCI Neuropsychiatric Center were billed for their diagnosis and treatment and, on admission to the hospital, they had not previously been detoxified.’
      • ‘On the other hand, Rheinland-Pfalz has argued that drug-dependent persons in prison are usually already detoxified and that maintenance is therefore unnecessary.’
      • ‘Burnley magistrates were told how he wanted to go to prison to detoxify and had been disappointed when the community rehabilitation order had earlier been allowed to be continued.’
      • ‘He said in August Gibbons had managed to detoxify and was now seeing the Swindon and Wiltshire Alcohol and Drugs Service regularly.’
      • ‘For example, patients recently detoxified from AODs frequently experience subacute symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety that may linger for a few days or weeks.’
    2. 1.2no object Abstain from drink and drugs until the bloodstream is free of toxins in order to overcome alcoholism or drug addiction.
      • ‘Judge Dunne suspended the last 18 months of the sentence due to mitigating factors like Kenny's attempts to detoxify and his job after jail.’
      • ‘Male patients with alcohol dependence (DSM III R criteria) were chosen and detoxified in an inpatient setting.’
      • ‘At the time of writing 50% of the clients that detoxified from methadone are believed to still be free of opiates.’
      • ‘Once you can get her through the door and detoxified, stay involved for her and stay involved for yourself (Al-Anon).’
    3. 1.3no object Become free of poisonous substances or qualities.
      ‘you can help your body detoxify by cutting down on coffee’
      • ‘These functions include helping the body to improve heart health, to detoxify and to ward off diabetes, epilepsy and cystic fibrosis.’
      • ‘An electrically powered vacuum massage is used to help the body detoxify, release excess fluid, and increase circulation and metabolic rate.’
      • ‘The most hotly debated issue, among those who want to detoxify at speed, is the virtue of colonic irrigation.’
      • ‘The time of the waning moon leading up to a new moon is considered to be the optimum for detoxifying and letting go of what the body no longer needs.’
      • ‘Phytochemicals, such as glucosinolates and nutrients in brassica vegetables help the body to detoxify.’
      • ‘The sloths inherit the ability to detoxify and digest leaves of specific trees.’
      • ‘Wheatgrass is believed to be a wonderful cleanser and rejuvenator, helping the body detoxify.’
      • ‘When a cold finally quits with such treatment, it is more an expression of despair in convincing its host of the need to detoxify, slow down and rest.’
      • ‘One option for those with rheumatoid arthritis is a therapeutic fast, which offers the body a chance to detoxify and gives it a break from food antigens that can cause joint inflammation.’
      • ‘Another way to detoxify is to actually brush the skin on a regular basis with a soft, natural-fibre brush, since the skin is actually another organ of elimination.’
      • ‘But it's important to remember that our bodies are constantly detoxifying, not just when we say so.’
      • ‘Health benefits claimed: Advocates say it's the fastest way to detoxify.’
      • ‘In other words, giving up offending foods for a couple of weeks can eventually help the body detoxify - if it leads to a new, long-term healthy mind-set.’
      • ‘The basic assumption is that the extent to which the post-anoxic cells can detoxify by ‘scavenging’ free radicals using enzymic and chemical means will determine the level of injury.’
      • ‘And sweating, it turns out, is one of the best ways to detoxify.’
      • ‘If you're in the mood to detoxify, getting rid of germs doesn't have to mean overkill: This is your home, not a hospital.’
      • ‘Some health care practitioners say heavy periods are a sign your body is trying to detoxify, so avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can be toxic to your body.’
      • ‘If you brush with long, gentle strokes moving toward your heart, you'll also improve circulation, which will help your body detoxify more efficiently.’
      • ‘Khichadi is considered very light and is suitable for those who are recuperating from an illness or preparing to detoxify or starting off from a day-long fast.’
      • ‘The recommended doses of nitroprusside of up to 10 [micro] g/kg/min result in cyanide formation at a far greater rate than human beings can detoxify.’


Early 20th century: from de- (expressing removal) + Latin toxicum ‘poison’ + -fy.