Pronounced: pro-SELL-us, adj
Notes: I don’t think I’ve run across this word
The word mithridatism means “the developing of immunity to a poison by gradually increasing the dose”
Our word came into English in the mid-1800s
Background / Comments
Our word is named after King Mithridates VI (king of Pontus, an area now in Turkey). He reigned from 120 BC to 63 BC. His father was poisoned, so (little wonder) he wanted to develop an immunity to poison. It is said that he succeeded by ingesting gradually increasing amounts. King Mithridates VI was defeated by Pompey; ironically (as it was said), he was afraid of being captured alive and attempted to commit suicide by taking poison — but due to his built-up immunity, it didn’t work… so he gave his sword to a servant and had the servant kill him with the sword. If you haven’t figured it out, I ran across our word when researching the entry for tachyphylaxis.