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Old 10-25-03, 07:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Poisonous or Venomous?

I often see the media using posionous and venomous interchangably and some people get upset over which one is used so I thought I'd open a can of worms and say that either is correct. Here are a couple dictionary entries, both which define venom as a poison. Also we have "poison dart frogs", not "venomous dart frogs" yet we don't go around drinking the frogs secretions for them to be administered. (At least I don't).
Heck the dictionary tells you to look at poison as well.

A) ven·om n.
A poisonous secretion of an animal, such as a snake, spider, or scorpion, usually transmitted by a bite or sting.
A poison.
Malice; spite: “They dislike making their just criticism of a useful and earnest man an excuse for a general discharge of venom from small-minded opponents” (W.E.B. DuBois).

[Middle English venim, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *venmen, from Latin vennum, poison. See wen-1 in Indo-European Roots.]

B) venom

\Ven"om\, n. [OE. venim, OF. venim, F. venin, L. veneum. Cf. Venenate.] 1. Matter fatal or injurious to life; poison; particularly, the poisonous, the poisonous matter which certain animals, such as serpents, scorpions, bees, etc., secrete in a state of health, and communicate by thing or stinging.

Or hurtful worm with cankered venom bites. --Milton.

2. Spite; malice; malignity; evil quality. Chaucer. ``The venom of such looks.'' --Shak.

Syn: Venom; virus; bane. See Poison.
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