#EngVocab: ‘poisonous’ vs. ‘venomous’

Hi, fellas! In this post, we cover the difference between poisonous and venomous.

My pet died after being bitten by a poisonous snake.
Do you spot an incorrect word choice in the previous sentence?

Many of us think that the use of poisonous and venomous is interchangeable when in fact it is not. Let’s take a look at each definition.

  • venomous: capable of putting poison or venom into another animal’s body usually by biting or stinging it,
  • poisonous: causing sickness or death by entering or touching the body : containing poison

See the difference?
A venomous creature causes death if it bites you. One example of venomous creature is King Cobra. Meanwhile, a poisonous creature causes harm or even death if you touch or eat it. Honeyvine Milkweed is poisonous. Of course Honeyvine Milkweed is not edible. If you’re lost in nature and you find this kind of plant, you shouldn’t eat this even if you’re dying of starving.

It’s easy to distinguish venomous and poisonous. Have you ever seen/read a headline saying “food venomous”? Absolutely NO. It would be food poisoning or poisonous food. It would never be venomous food. Is food able to bite you then it can cause death?

So to conclude my explanation, consider bite to distinguish venomous and poisonous. If you bite it and you die, it is poisonous. And if it bites you (you are bitten) and you die, it’s venomous.

I hope the explanation is clear. Remember word choice matters. :)


Compiled and written by @kusumawicitraa at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, March 24, 2017





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