poison


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

poison pen

1. adjective 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. Always used before a noun. Often hyphenated. 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 Characterized by, typified by, or inclined toward the writing and sending of such letters or pieces of writing. Always used before a noun. Often hyphenated. 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

poisoned chalice

Something that initially appears to be good, wholesome, or positive, but is really harmful. Primarily heard in UK. We thought the change in leadership was going to have a positive effect on the organization, but it turned out to be a poisoned chalice.
See also: chalice, poison

poison-pen letter

A letter that contains malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or another party. Shortly after announcing his candidacy, he received an anonymous poison-pen letter attacking his platform.
See also: letter

What's your poison?

What do you want to drink? What is your usual drink? Let's have a drink. What's your poison?

one man's meat is another man's poison

What one person may consider good, enjoyable, or beneficial may be disliked by someone else. A: "I really don't understand the appeal of the Harry Potter series. There are so many better books out there!" B: "Eh, one man's meat is another man's poison."
See also: another, meat, one, poison

lead poisoning

slang Death or injury resulting from a bullet wound. Don't worry about it—if Johnny thinks he can rat us out, then he's gonna find himself with a serious case of lead poisoning. I came away from the gunfight with a bit of lead poisoning in my arm.
See also: lead, poison

name your poison

Tell me what (typically alcoholic) beverage you would like to drink. I'm buying the first round—name your poison. A: "Hi there, could I get something to drink?" B: "Of course you can. Name your poison."
See also: name, poison

pick your poison

Tell me what alcoholic beverage you would like to drink. I'm buying the first round—pick your poison. A: "Hi there, could I get something to drink?" B: "Of course you can. Pick your poison."
See also: pick, poison

poison (one) against (someone or something)

To inspire or manipulate one to take a very negative, hateful, or disdainful view of someone or something. It's like Tommy's new girlfriend has been poisoning him against us—ever since they started dating, he's been turning his back on us. The bitter election ended up poisoning many voters against the democratic process entirely.
See also: poison

poison pill

A defensive tactic used to fend off a hostile corporate take over in which a company's board of directors give shareholders the ability to buy shares at discounted prices if any one shareholder (i.e., the one seeking to take over) buys a certain percentage of the company's shares at once, thus forcing the bidding company to spend substantially more in their bid. Sensing that Gangrenous Inc. was looking to acquire their company to exploit its valuable intellectual property, the board of directors passed a poison pill to ward them off.
See also: pill, poison

poison with (something)

1. To introduce some kind of poison into a person's or animal's system in order to sicken or kill them. A noun or pronoun is used between "poison" and "with." She slowly poisoned John with small doses of arsenic over the course of several years. Someone has been poisoning local wildlife with antifreeze.
2. To lace, taint, or coat something with some kind of poison. A noun or pronoun is used between "poison" and "with." Someone poisoned the soup with cyanide. The tribe poisons the tips of their arrows with a substance found on the backs of certain frogs.
3. To pollute or dirty something with some toxic, poisonous, or otherwise harmful substance. A noun or pronoun is used between "poison" and "with." The nuclear power plant has been accused of poisoning the city's water supply with poorly contained toxic waste. If we continue to poison the atmosphere with all the CO2 our cars and factories belch out, we're going to make our planet uninhabitable in a matter of years!
See also: 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

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

a poisoned chalice

mainly BRITISH
If you describe a job or an opportunity as a poisoned chalice, you mean that it seems at first to be very attractive but in time will probably cause failure or trouble. She claims that the president appointed his former rival only in the belief that he was giving him a poisoned chalice and that he would not last more than a year. The contract may yet prove to be a poisoned chalice. Note: A chalice is an old-fashioned cup or goblet, usually made of metal and shaped like a wine glass.
See also: chalice, poison

one man's meat is another man's poison

If you say one man's meat is another man's poison, you mean that different people like different things. Talk about one man's meat is another man's poison, did you like that hideous painting in the kitchen? Note: The Roman author Lucretius said in `De Rerum Natura': `What is food to one person may be bitter poison to others.'
See also: another, meat, one, poison

what's your poison?

used to ask someone what they would like to drink. informal

a poisoned chalice

something that is apparently desirable but likely to be damaging to the person to whom it is given.
1998 New Scientist Anyone who discovers a superconductor that works at room temperature may be handing the world a poisoned chalice…the material might be too toxic to be usable.
See also: chalice, poison

one man’s ˌmeat is another man’s ˈpoison

(saying) used to say that different people like different things; what one person likes very much, another person does not like at all: I’m amazed that Tim enjoys cricket so much. Still, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, as they say.
See also: another, meat, one, poison

a ˌpoison ˈpen letter

an unpleasant letter which is not signed and is intended to upset the person who receives it: Most politicians get poison pen letters, sometimes threatening their lives.
See also: letter, pen, poison

what’s your ˈpoison?

(spoken, humorous) used to ask somebody what alcoholic drink they would like: Right, would anyone like a drink? Bill, what’s your poison?

a poisoned ˈchalice

(especially British English) a thing which seems attractive when it is given to somebody but which soon becomes unpleasant: He inherited a poisoned chalice when he took over the job as union leader.
A chalice is a large cup for holding wine.
See also: chalice, poison

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

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

no accounting for tastes, there is no

Each to his or her own preference. This locution for the inexplicability of likes (and dislikes) began as “there is no disputing about tastes” in the sixteenth century. It was changed to “accounting for” by the early nineteenth century. Anthony Trollope, in the last of his Barset Chronicles (1867), said of Major Grantly as a suitor, “There was . . . no accounting for tastes.” A similar mid-twentieth-century phrase that is on its way to clichédom is different strokes for different folks, which originated in American regional slang. All these are synonymous with the much older proverb, One man’s meat is another’s poison, originating in Roman times and proverbial since about 1700. See also to each his own.
See also: accounting, no, there

poison pen

A writer of a letter, usually anonymous, that is malicious and, sometimes libelous. It may attack either the recipient or a third party. The term, with its companion poison-pen letter, dates from the early 1900s. The poison is figurative, describing the scurrilous nature of the words. David Lodge used it in Changing Places (1975), “I’ve had what I believe is called a poison-pen letter from Euphoria, an anonymous letter.”
See also: pen, 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 ?
Stems/branches of poison ivy leaves are never side by side.
In Pakistan, according to a National Health Survey, poisoning is the second most common cause of unintentional injuries in persons aged 5 and above.3 Various dynamics of the poisoning phenomena have been studied however gender-based evaluation of poisoned patients is scarce.
The hospital sources informed that 2 more patients who had consumed poison were timely brought to the hospital and the doctors saved their lives.
* Bentonite clay is a great poison ivy hack because the drying effect of the clay will help relieve irritated skin.
It stressed that puffer fish poison cannot be eliminated by cooking or freezing it.
"Last year, a total of 71 raptors were poisoned, including rare species ndash two royal eagles and nine white-tailed sea eagles," Chavko added.The total social value of poisoned birds of prey is euro136,740.Raptor Protection Slovakia bought the Standard Schnauzer for the Interior Ministry from the Czech Republic.
Police and the RSPCA are investigating claims that the cats, aged seven, were poisoned just days apart.
The paediatrician, who noted that kerosene poisoning, was the commonest in Ibadan, said although many people term palm oil as 'ero' or poison neutraliser, it is not the case.
Yusifov said that the price of 1 gram of snake poison varies from $100 to $500 in the world market.
Outcome of patients with carbon monoxide poisoning at a far-east poison center.
[9] The aim of this study was to evaluate of drug and poison information services provided at our tertiary care center.
John Keats probably wanted to poison himself too in his long, losing battle to tuberculosis.
As the phenomenon is so eminent, it is very likely that any one of us could come across a dog that has been poisoned, we could witness someone leaving poison for dogs to eat or we might even lose a pet of our own to an act of poisoning.
In USA, about 203,930 cases of acetaminophen overingestion were reported to US poison centres between 1998 to 1999, making it the leading pharmaceutical agent associated with toxicity.