Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Harmful to living things; injurious to health: noxious chemical wastes.
  • adj. Harmful to the mind or morals; corrupting: noxious ideas.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Harmful; injurious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Hurtful; harmful; baneful; pernicious; injurious; destructive; unwholesome; insalubrious; ; pernicious; corrupting to morals.
  • adj. Guilty; criminal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Hurtful; harmful; baneful; pernicious: as, noxious vapors; noxious animals.
  • Guilty; criminal.
  • Synonyms Noxious, Pernicious, Noisome, pestiferous, pestilent, poisonous, mischievous, corrupting. That which is noxious is actively and energetically harmful. That which is pernicious is as actively destructive. Noisome and noxious were once essentially the same (see Job xxxi. 40, margin; Ps. xci. 3; Ezek. xiv. 21), but noisome now snggests primarily foulness of odor, with a secondary noxiousness to health. Unwholesome vapors that do not offend the sense of smell would now hardly be called noisome.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. injurious to physical or mental health

Etymologies

Middle English noxius, from Latin, from noxa, damage; see nek-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From noxius ("hurtful, injurious"), from noxa ("hurt, injury"), for *nocsa, from nocere ("to hurt, injure"); see nocent. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The good news, indeed, coming from this location, about 30 miles northwest of the previous Long Beach location here in the city of Los Angeles, L.A. firefighters, including our hazardous materials experts, have gone into a three-story AT&T telephone company switching office where they discovered approximately 10 persons who had become ill after being exposed to what they described as noxious fumes.

    CNN Transcript Sep 11, 2006

  • The only thing that makes me noxious is that this beautiful situation is so surreal we can only imagine it in an advert.

    Global Voices in English » Israel: Cellular firm ad stirs occupation debate

  • I was sunk in noxious geekery with the switch to Shaw and GoDaddy, but I have not forgotten you.

    Rapid weaving

  • Still more noxious is the writer Eduard Limonov, who heads the National Bolshevik Party and holds up Slobodan Milosevic as a model leader.

    The Accidental Autocrat

  • WEDEMAN: Cocktail No. 4 is what the detainees themselves call a noxious mix of sperm, spit, fecal matter and urine.

    CNN Transcript Jul 22, 2005

  • Kind of like bugs that come in noxious colors to avoid being eaten, you would need those bright colors to turn the head of that Escalade driver you’d be battling.

    duh pookie

  • They are classified as a noxious pest in Australia.

    Matthew Yglesias » Carping

  • Sometimes it is a sharp revelation of something ugly and perverse in my own nature ” I don't dwell long on that, but I see in imagination how it is likely to trouble me, and I hope that it will not delude me again; because these evil things delude one, they call noxious tricks by fine names.

    Father Payne

  • From this Colony it is said to have been taken in the 16th or 17th century into the south of China, where its use was so much abused that the sale of this so-called noxious article was, for a long time, prohibited under penalty of death.

    The Philippine Islands

  • A medicine -- that is, a noxious agent, like a blister, a seton, an emetic, or a cathartic

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

Comments

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  • Oh, I see what you're saying. Yes, I suppose it could be. But I've only heard obnoxious used to describe people and/or their traits and habits, whereas I've only heard "noxious" used to describe non-human things--like chemicals, weeds, pests, and so on--that may be harmful to the well-being (physical or otherwise) of living things.

    Oh, one odd little tidbit: Just learned about an archaic meaning for obnoxious: "exposed or liable to harm, evil, or anything objectionable." Interesting.

    Anyone else? :-)

    September 29, 2007

  • Technically, sure. But isn't that redundant? And, er... repetitive?

    September 29, 2007

  • "Toward" noxious, I guess?

    September 29, 2007

  • I wonder how this word is related to obnoxious?

    September 29, 2007