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Is There Something You Want to Say to the World?

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more serious question [Nov. 27th, 2007|09:13 pm]
Is There Something You Want to Say to the World?


What's the difference between venomous and poisonous, or is there one?  I ran across a bit of text recently that spoke of a "venomous" substance, and I realized that I always thought of "venomous" as a more... active?... adjective.  An animal would be "venomous", whereas a substance or even a plant would be "poisonous".  I don't know if that's just my own sense of the connotation, though.  I guess I'd also think of a "poisonous animal" as meaning one whose flesh is poisonous to eat, whereas a "venomous" animal would have poisoned fangs or something.  Does that distinction make sense?  And is that distinction generally attached to the words, or are they really interchangeable?

Perhaps something "poisonous" is harmful when ingested, but something "venomous" does damage through a wound or so on?  Well, a dagger can be poisoned... but I don't think I've ever heard of someone dying from eating something "venomous".

Either way, they're both cool words.

[User Picture]From: mj_automatic
2007-11-28 06:41 am (UTC)
I think you hit the nail on the head. a poison is any substance that's toxic when ingested, a venom is something that is produced by an animal - such as spider venom, snake venom, platypus venom...yeah. Wish i had a better explanation of this.

Here's an official definition, of sorts, from wikipedia:

"Venom (literally, poison of animal origin) is any of a variety of toxins used by certain types of animals, for the purpose of defense and hunting. Generally, venom is injected while other toxins are absorbed by ingestion or through the skin."
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[User Picture]From: queenlyzard
2007-11-29 04:29 am (UTC)
neat! Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: dreams_cametrue
2007-11-28 07:50 am (UTC)
Yes, that definition above is how I was going to describe it also. "Venom" generally implies a defense or hunting mechanism that is either injected into the bloodstream or into the skin. A "poison" is any sort of toxin that is harmful if ingested or absorbed through the skin.

For example, a fundamentalist in a rural church in West Virginia might drink "poison" or he might handle "venomous" snakes to prove his faith LOL.

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[User Picture]From: padparadscha
2007-11-28 10:28 am (UTC)
That was my distinction, too--poison gets et, venom gets injected. And venom is animal in origin, so it'd be defense or hunting.

I guess absorbed through the skin works, too.
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[User Picture]From: queenlyzard
2007-11-29 04:48 am (UTC)
so... was the quote about the "venomous plant" a mis-use of the word? Or is this distinction more convention than official "law"?
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