1. The radical –CN or ion (CN). The ion is extremely poisonous, forming hydrocyanic acid in water, it has the odor of almond oil; inhibits respiratory proteins (cytochromes) at the cellular level. 2. A salt of HCN or a cyano-containing molecule.

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cy·a·nide 'sī-ə-.nīd, -nəd n any of several compounds (as potassium cyanide) that contain the radical CN having a chemical valence of one, react with and inactivate respiratory enzymes, and are rapidly lethal producing drowsiness, tachycardia, coma, and finally death

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any of the notoriously poisonous salts of hydrocyanic acid. Cyanides combine with and render inactive the enzymes of the tissues responsible for cellular respiration, and therefore they kill extremely quickly; unconsciousness is followed by convulsions and death. Hydrogen cyanide vapour is fatal in less than a minute when inhaled. Sodium or potassium cyanide taken by mouth may also kill within minutes. Prompt treatment with sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulphate or dicobalt edetate may save life. Cyanides give off a smell of bitter almonds.

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cy·a·nide (siґə-nīd) the CN anion or a salt containing this ion; all cyanides are extremely toxic; see cyanide poisoning under poisoning.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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