See also: radioactivé

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

Coined by Pierre Curie and Marie Curie in 1898 as French radio-actif, equivalent to English radio- +‎ active.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

radioactive (comparative more radioactive, superlative most radioactive)

  1. Exhibiting radioactivity.
    • 1917, H. G. Wells, “The First Vision”, in The Soul of a Bishop[1]:
      As a matter of fact many of our best drinking waters have all sorts of unspecified qualities. Burton water, for example, is radioactive by Beetham's standards up to the ninth degree.
  2. (figurative, rare) Dangerous and disgusting, particularly of people or ideas.
    Even sleazy tactics and his radioactive mouth may not be able to contain this debacle.
    • 2020 November 30, Burgess Everett, Caitlin Emma, Theodoric Meyer, quoting John Cornyn, “Joe Biden's 'radioactive' nominee”, in POLITICO[2]:
      And while Biden’s other nominees have done little to provoke Republican backlash thus far, [Neera] Tanden is “radioactive,” as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) put it.
    • 2022 April 4, Gail Collins, Bret Stephens, “Which ‘Radioactive Republicans’ Are We Betting On?”, in The New York Times[3], →ISSN:
      If, by some miracle, Democrats hang on to one or both houses of Congress this November, it will be because of Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and other would-be G.O.P. candidates trying to be just like them — the Radioactive Republicans.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

radioactive (plural radioactives)

  1. Any radioactive substance.
    • 2016, Travis S. Taylor, Les Johnson, On to the Asteroid:
      Any ship nearby will receive a lethal dose of gamma rays, neutrons, and other radioactives.

Further reading edit

French edit

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit


  1. feminine singular of radioactif