January 25, 2010
toxic (adjective)
\TAHK-sik\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : of, relating to, or caused by a poison or toxic2 : poisonous
How do you use it?
The paint can's warning label advised us to keep the room well-ventilated to avoid breathing in toxic fumes.
Are you a word wiz?

"Toxic" comes from the Greek word for something that is sometimes poisonous. What do you think the Greek root word of "toxic" refers to?

You're right on target if you picked answer C! An arrow is a more effective weapon when its point is dipped in poison. The Greek word "toxon" meant "arrow, bow" and from "toxon" the Greeks developed the word "toxikon," meaning "arrow poison." In Latin, "toxicon" became "toxicum," and referred to any poison. English inherited its word "toxic" from Latin. Most words in English that derive from Greek "toxon" have to do with poison, but some go back the original meaning of "arrow." For example, a "toxophilite" is not someone who loves poison, but rather someone fond of or expert at archery.
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