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poison pen

1. adjective (hyphenated and used before a noun) Spiteful, malicious, or defamatory in composition, as of a letter or other written work, generally sent anonymously and with the aim of damaging or destroying a person's, group's, or organization's reputation or happiness. After agreeing to defend the alleged mass-murderer, the public defendant began receiving a large number of poison-pen letters from around the city. We've had enough trouble getting this restaurant up and running without having a poison-pen review like that in the papers!
2. adjective (hyphenated and used before a noun) Characterized by, typified by, or inclined toward the writing and sending of such letters or pieces of writing. The outspoken feminist figure has been the target of a hateful poison-pen campaign by online misogynists who have hidden behind the shield of anonymity to conduct their attacks.
3. noun A disposition, attitude, inclination, or ability typified by the writing and sending such letters or pieces of writing. Every year or so, there is a new piece of diatribe and vitriol from the poison pen of the infamous white supremacist. The poison pen of the oft-feared but well-respected critic has been enough to cause the downfall of more than one virtuoso's career.
See also: pen, poison

One man's meat is another man's poison.

Prov. Something that one person likes may be distasteful to someone else. Fred: What do you mean you don't like French fries? They're the best food in the world! Alan: One man's meat is another man's poison. Jill: I don't understand why Don doesn't like to read science fiction. It's the most interesting thing to read. Jane: One man's meat is another man's poison.
See also: another, meat, one, poison

poison someone against someone or something

to cause someone to have negative or hateful thoughts about someone, a group, or something. You have done nothing more than poison Gerald against all of us! Stop talking to him! Your negative comments poisoned everyone against the proposal.
See also: poison

poison (someone or an animal) with something

to render someone or an animal sick or dead with a poison. He intended to poison his wife with arsenic. Barry wanted to poison the cat with something that left no trace. He poisoned himself with the cleaning compound.
See also: poison

poison something with something

to render something poisonous with something. She poisoned the soup with arsenic. They are poisoning our water supply with pollutants.
See also: poison

What'll it be?

 and Name your poison.; What'll you have?; What's yours?
Inf. What do you want to drink?; What do you want?; How can I serve you? (Typically said by a bartender or bar waiter or waitress.) Tom: What'll it be, friend? Bill: I'll just have a ginger ale, if you don't mind. Waitress: What'll you have? Bob: Nothing, thanks.

One man's meat is another man's poison.

something that you say which means that something one person likes very much can be something that another person does not like at all I wouldn't want to do her job, but she seems to love it. Oh well, one man's meat is another man's poison.
See also: another, meat, one, poison

What's your poison?

something that you say in order to ask someone what they would like to drink It's my round. What's your poison?

a poisoned chalice

something that harms the person it is given to although it seemed very good when they first got it The leadership of the party turned out to be a poisoned chalice.
See also: poison

a poison-pen letter

a letter that has no signature and says unpleasant things about the person it is sent to After he was convicted, his family received a number of poison-pen letters.
See also: letter

one man's meat is another man's poison

What is good for or enjoyed by one is not necessarily so for someone else. This adage, first recorded in 1576, is so well known it is often shortened, as in Pat loves to travel to remote areas but that's not for Doris-one man's meat, you know. Also see no accounting for tastes.
See also: another, meat, one, poison

poison-pen letter

A letter, usually anonymous, that makes malicious statements about the recipient or a third party. For example, She told the police about the poison-pen letters, but they said they couldn't pursue the matter . [Early 1900s]
See also: letter

lead poisoning

n. death caused by being shot with a lead bullet. (Underworld.) He pifted because of a case of lead poisoning.
See also: lead, poison

Name your poison

sent. State what you want to drink. (Refers to alcoholic drinks only.) Okay, friend, name your poison.
See also: name, poison


1. mod. wicked; evil. Stay away from her. She’s poison.
2. n. an alcoholic drink. Name your poison.

poison pill

n. an element introduced into the restructuring of a corporation so that it becomes undesirable for another corporation to take over. Acme Corporation approved a poison pill to prevent a hostile takeover.
See also: pill, poison

one man's meat is another man's poison

You may not like something that I like. The phrase, which was first written by the Roman poet Lucretius, was appropriated to refer to any situation where two people disagree over something. The 20th-century literary wit George S. Kauffman's most celebrated pun was “One man's Mede is another man's Persian.”
See also: another, meat, one, poison
References in periodicals archive ?
Brinvilliers herbs, named for the notorious female poisoner of the court
Such analyses may assist law enforcement personnel in their investigations by arming them with a clearer picture of the poisoner.
Young's teacher was becoming concerned by what was going on and searched his pupil's desk, where he discovered poisons and essays about famous poisoners.
Though the youngster might not have enough time, as he is also in deadly danger from the diabolical poisoner.
Andrew Goldfarb, the one-man surrealistic rock 'n' roll band, has performed as the Slow Poisoner ever since his band the Slow Poisoners died.
As members of the creepy Tomb family wait to hear how their late father's will is going to divide up pounds 7 million, the audience has to come to grips with the likes of crazy Marcus (David Daly) who thinks he is Caesar, dotty poisoner Dora (Helen Gilfoyle), man-mad Monica (Gill Lovatt) and loopy Lucien (Don Day).
Despite efforts to save them, the once magnificent ashes were deemed beyond rescue, their leaves yellowing and trunks decaying, after a sick poisoner drilled holes into the tree trunks and poured in chemicals.
Tanya is soon prime suspect after tough Al Mackenzie (Scots star Pauline Campbell) is murdered by a mystery poisoner.
They sailed from Marseilles, he said, in the White Star Liner Megantic, in which, 'several years later, the notorious poisoner Dr Crippen and his mistress Ethel le Neve were brought back to England from Canada'.
The pervert poisoner was rightly sentenced to five years behind bars.
The actress, who plays lady's maid Anna Bates in the hit ITV show, will play Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton in a two-part drama called Dark Angel.
Opening for the prosecution, Peter Wright QC said: "The poisoner seems to have contaminated products or altered dosages at random.
rge sheet charge sheetName: Graham Young Nickname: The Teacup Poisoner Lived: September 7 1947-August 1 1990 Crime Period: 1961-2 and 1971 Location: London and Hertfordshire Victims: Three Sentence: Life imprisonment THE staff at the photographic firm were worried.
MORE cats are suspected to have been killed by a mystery poisoner.
CURRY poisoner Lakhvir Singh was jailed for at least 23 years yesterday without showing a flicker of emotion for the lives she had ruined.