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April 22, 2019

Word of the Day: Intoxicate

2 CQ

Word of the Day : April 22, 2019

intoxicate \in-TAHK-suh-kayt\ verb


1 : poison

2 a : to excite or stupefy by alcohol or a drug especially to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished 

b : to excite or elate to the point of enthusiasm or frenzy

Did You Know?

For those who think that alcohol and drugs qualify as poisons, the history of intoxicate offers some etymological evidence to bolster your argument. Intoxicate traces back to toxicum, the Latin word for "poison"—and the earliest meaning of intoxicate was as an adjective describing something (such as the tip of an arrow or dart) steeped in or smeared with poison. That meaning dates to the 15th century; the related verb, meaning "to poison," occurs in the 16th. Both senses are now obsolete. Today, we talk about such harmless things as flowers and perfume having the power to intoxicate. Toxicum turns up in the etymologies of a number of other English words including toxic ("poisonous"), intoxicant ("something that intoxicates"), and detoxify ("to remove a poison from"), as well as a number of names for various poisons themselves.

Aired April 22, 2019

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