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venomous (adj.)

"full of venom, noxious or hurtful by means of venom," c. 1300, from Anglo-French venimeus, Old French venimos (12c., Modern French venimeux), from venim (see venom). Earliest recorded use is figurative; literal sense by early 14c. Biologists have tended to preserve a distinction between venomous and poisonous that the general language has forgotten: venomous is applied to what bites or stings to inject toxins, poisonous to what unload toxins when eaten. Related: Venomously; venomousness.

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