from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Tolerance or immunity to a poison acquired by taking gradually larger doses of it.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The development of immunity to a poison by gradual ingestion of successively greater amounts.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Immunity against the action of a poison acquired by taking the drug in constantly increasing doses: a method said to have been conceived by Mithridates to protect himself against palace intrigues.
The old notion as to "mithridatism" was that an animal or a man would have to be separately prepared and
I just ran into a nice word: mithridatism, named after Mithridates VI of Pontus, the phenomenon of partial immunity to poison acquired by taking small doses.
It's hard not to think of Iocane powder; but arsenic is a classic real example of a poison where mithridatism is possible, as with the (possibly exaggerated) Arsenic Eaters of Styria, 19th century Austrian peasants who habitually ate, as a tonic, normally lethal doses of arsenic.
This is the case of (relative) immunization or, as it is sometimes called, of mithridatism.
One of my personal favorites in this category is mithridatism
The question of whether proper names of people and places have a rightful place in a dictionary is probably an obsolete one: their presence was formerly justified on the grounds that as "words" they are far more frequent than many of the "legitimate" words, like elytron, greave, or mithridatism.
As it is, one has to read through it to find the good stuff, which is not a thrilling prospect, notwithstanding the fact that much worthwhile material is here, though one should take it in small quantities: mithridatism The act of taking poison in increasing doses as a means of building an immunity to it, as in the case of people who start out with talk shows and gradually work their way up to situation comedies.
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