Etymology
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Words related to virus

antivirus (n.)

"medication to help the body fight off a specific infection," 1903, from anti- + virus.

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parvovirus (n.)

type of very small virus, 1965, from parvi- "small, little" + connecting element -o- + virus.

poison (n.)
Origin and meaning of poison

c. 1200, poisoun, "a deadly potion or substance," also figuratively, "spiritually corrupting ideas; evil intentions," from Old French poison, puison (12c., Modern French poison) "a drink," especially a medical drink, later "a (magic) potion, poisonous drink" (14c.), from Latin potionem (nominative potio) "a drinking, a drink," also "poisonous drink" (Cicero), from potare "to drink" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink").

A doublet of potion. For similar form evolution from Latin to French, compare raison from rationem, trahison from traditionem. The more usual Indo-European word for this is represented in English by virus. The Old English word was ator (see attercop) or lybb (cognate with Old Norse lyf "medicinal herbs;" see leaf (n.)).

For sense evolution, compare Old French enerber, enherber "to kill with poisonous plants." In many Germanic languages "poison" is named by a word equivalent to English gift (such as Old High German gift, German Gift, Danish and Swedish gift; Dutch gift, vergift). This shift might have been partly euphemistic, partly by influence of Greek dosis "a portion prescribed," literally "a giving," used by Galen and other Greek physicians to mean an amount of medicine (see dose (n.)).

Of persons detested or regarded as exerting baleful influence, by 1910. The slang meaning "alcoholic drink" is by 1805 in American English (potus as a past-participle adjective in Latin meant "drunken").

As an adjective from 1520s; with plant names from 18c. Poison ivy is recorded by 1784 for a shrub-vine of North America causing an itching rash on contact; poison oak for poison ivy or related species is by 1743. Poison sumac (1817), causing an even more severe rash, is a swamp-border tree noted for the brilliant red of its leaves in fall. Poison gas is recorded from 1915. Poison-pen (letter) was popularized 1913 by a notorious criminal case in Pennsylvania, U.S.; the phrase dates to 1898.

reovirus (n.)

1959, coined by U.S. medical researcher Dr. Albert B. Sabin (1906-1993), with virus + acronym for respiratory enteric orphan; "orphan" because it was not connected to any of the diseases it is associated with.

retrovirus (n.)

1977, earlier retravirus (1974), from re(verse) tra(nscriptase) + connective -o- + virus. So called because it contains reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that uses RNA instead of DNA to encode genetic information, which reverses the usual pattern. Remodeled by influence of retro- "backwards."

rhinovirus (n.)

one of a group of viruses that includes those which cause many common colds, 1961, from rhino- + virus.

rotavirus (n.)
wheel-shaped virus causing inflammation of the lining of the intestines, 1974, from Latin rota "wheel" (see rotary) + virus.
viral (adj.)
"of the nature of, or caused by, a virus," 1944, see virus + -al (1). Sense of "become suddenly widely popular through internet sharing" is attested by 1999, originally in reference to marketing and based on the similarity of the effect to the spread of a computer virus. Related: Virally.
virion (n.)
coined in French, 1959, from virus (see virus) + -on.