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Poison Is Corrosive
A fairly common trope, where any particularly potent poison is incredibly corrosive as well. This is often used to let a hero identify an attack as poisonous without actually getting poisoned. Alternatively, it can be used to show just how strong a poison is (somehow) by having it dissolve the spoon being used to mix it.
Frequently bundled into a single damage type in games featuring Elemental Powers
to explain how can it deal damage to both living creatures and constructs
or The Undead
Note that this may be justified (or Hand Waved
) in non-contemporary or fantasy works, as the characters might not understand that there even is a difference between acid and poison, or might not have a word for acid, or something. (Incidentally, not all acids are corrosive.)
Obviously, any liquid that is normally that corrosive will be toxic to ingest. This trope is for the case when a liquid billed as a straight toxin is inexplicably reactive.
Compare Ate the Spoon
, Gargle Blaster
, Hollywood Acid
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Anime and Manga
- In InuYasha, Sessoumaru's poison claw attacks can dissolve bones. In a story late in the series, Sango also uses a poison strong enough to melt bone, causing significant damage to her weapon in the process.
- One Piece has several examples of this, most notably Magellan, whose powers allow him to create any type of poison he pleases, especially the corrosive variety.
- In Kaiba, a poison disguised as wine spills and eats through whatever it touches.
- The Arrancar Loly Aivirrne's Resurreccion has centipede-like tentacles which have a poison that erodes whatever it touches.
- Gin Ichimaru's bankai has the ability to completely break down the opponent, as Kamishini no Yari is made of potent poison, and it turns to dust for a millisecond during expansion, meaning Ichimaru can leave a small piece of it inside the enemy and vaporize then at any second after piercing them.
- In Apothecarius Argentum, the title character, Argent is a "Basilisk", a type of Super Soldier who has been exposed to various toxins from birth to the point they're integrated into his body chemistry. In one chapter, in order to escape from a dungeon, he bites open the palm of his hand and uses his blood to weaken the stone walls to the point he can punch through them.
- In Toriko, Coco can produce this type of poison after evolving his Gourmet Cells and learning Food Honor.
- Little Witch Academia has a small vial of poison melt a huge monster and the floor it was standing on.
- In Le Scorpion, Several of Master Poisoner Mejai's poisons are shown to be acidic. Armando uses one to burn through the ropes holding him at one point.
- In Enchanted, a poison apple eats through a biker's helmet.
- In The Rock, we see what VX2 does to bare skin. One thing that's not addressed is how atropine can counter a blister agent. note
- This trope shows up repeatedly in The Three Stooges shorts.
- Back to the Future: Part III. Marty gets poured a free shot of whiskey by a bartender that wants to make sure he knows what they serve in his bar. Strong stuff all right-the bar top smokes from the overpour. Marty wisely leaves it alone. (while not billed as poison, one shot of the same whiskey puts Doc on the floor.)
- The Dark Knight: When the commissioner's poisoned highball glass gets knocked over it starts eating a hole through his desk.
- Although in this case, it's reasonable to assume that the commissioner's whiskey was actually spiked with acid, not poison.
- Murder by Death. One of the glasses of wine served to the guests is poisoned. When the wine is poured onto a cloth napkin, it burns holes through it.
- Curse of the Golden Flower: Never actually stated to be poison, but normally you don't try to make people drink acid.
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: The poisoned robe corrodes its wearer's flesh as well as the hands of the poisoner, but somehow not its own cloth or the cloth it's wrapped in when presented to the victim. Perhaps it reacts with sweat.
- Clash of the Titans (1981). The Stygian Witches say that Medusa's blood is a deadly poison, and after Perseus cuts off her head her blood spews out and melts Perseus' shield, which was a gift from the gods.
- In Skyfall an agent's cyanide suicide capsule somehow dissolves his teeth and upper jaw but fails to kill him.
- The poison laced cigarette in Mindhunters, could arguably double as this trope, since it first eats through a metal floor and the victim's boot...with her foot still inside...before killing her. It's not until later that one character states it was "some kind of acid" rather than poison and even then it's based on assumption.
- In 9 to 5 Violet imagines poisoning her boss's coffee with something that dissolves the spoon. Averted when his coffee really is (accidentally) poisoned later.
- While not explicitly described, the poisonous fog in Catching Fire causes intense, immediate pain on contact, pain that lingers until the fog is washed off in water. This makes it somewhat similar to a blistering agent, though a water-soluble one (which makes very little sense).
- Harry Potter. Poison from the Basilisk's fangs was a corrosive substance. Justified since the delivery method is through a bite.
- Discworld plays with this a lot, but most noticeably in Interesting Times, where the poison not only smokes upon contact, it causes the imbiber to explode.
- Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon featured Flagg preparing a poison which burned away and twisted the bowl of the spoon with which he stirred it. The corrosive power killing before the poison is addressed however, as the poison when mixed with water, wine or ingested by the human body stops it burning holes through stuff, it just kills you an extremely unpleasant manner a day or two later.
- In the Humanx Commonwealth series, Alaspinian minidrags spit an incredibly potent neurotoxin that has been shown to eat through metal. It's justified in that minidrags have no teeth, so they rely on their toxin's corrosive properties to get it into the bloodstreams of their enemies.
- In the Temeraire novels, certain breeds of dragon are capable of spraying acid. While some characters early in the story refer to it as poison, neither the dragons nor their handlers make the mistake, making this an in-universe example of the trope.
- In the Wraeththu novels by Storm Constantine, the title creatures' semen is a caustic poison. This is also true in the Tabletop Game based on the novels.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Way to Eden": The plant life of the planet Eden is full of acidic poison.
- The nerve gas in Season 5 of 24 could eat through door seals. Handwaved in that the nerve gas was mixed with a corrosive element.
- In the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the sequence demonstrating the effect of drinking a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster ends with a close-up of the stuff, having been spilled when the drinkers succumbed to unconsciousness, eating a hole in the floor.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
- The original series did this a lot when a poison attack was used on the Megazord. It could also shock, as Scorpina's sting did.
- Power Rangers Mystic Force does this twice in two different episodes. Once, a poisoned apple, seconds after Chip suspects it's no good, instantly blackens and deflates like a balloon. Later, a goblet of poisoned tea eats through a book on the table after it's knocked from the intended victim's hand. All the usual Fridge Logic applies.
- In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the Hades God Toad used corrosive poisons as part of his power set.
- In the Warehouse 13 episode "The Ones You Love", when Myka's sister Tracy is affected by a cord that makes you murder your siblings she slips something in Myka's tea. When Myka spills the tea, it eats through the carpet.
- In Grimm, the spider-like tarantella's venom dissolves (digests) its victim from the inside-out.
- SCP Foundation
- SCP-875 ("War Criminals"). SCP-875-1 are small flying insects about six centimeters long. They have a sting which injects a venom that is highly acidic and does serious damage to tendons and nerves.
- SCP-955 ("Mr. Sillybug"). If an example of SCP-955 is threatened or startled it will spray a corrosive mucus up to several meters away. The mucus contains a neurotoxin that causes severe pain on contact with flesh.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- 1st Edition
- Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia. The skin of the troglodyte deity Laogzed oozes an acidic poison.
- Mayfair Games' Role Aids supplement Dark Folk. The troll deity Lirabyth can spit a deadly poisonous stream that paralyzes the victim as well as doing 10-80 Hit Points of damage due to its caustic acid base.
- The Megalo-centipede has a poison bite. If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the poison burns the victim's skin for 1-8 Hit Points of damage instead killing them.
- Crystal Ooze secretes a corrosive poison that paralyzes its victims and allows the ooze to consume them.
- Dragon magazine #46 adventure "The Temple of Poseidon''. Devil Wyrms can Super Spit an acidic venom at a single target up to 30 feet away that does 3-18 Hit Points of damage.
- 2nd Edition
- Monstrous Manual. The Eyewing weeps an acidic, poison fluid from its 4-foot wide eye.
- Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix 1 Terrors of the Desert. The So-ut's claws secrete an acidic poison that damages targets and their armor.
- Dragon magazine #223 article "Primal Rage". The monster Vertigo can spit a glob of poisonous acid up to 100 feet away. It affects a circular area with a radius of 20 feet, and causes up to 150 Hit Points of damage.
- Dragon magazine #237 article "Dragon's Bestiary - Venomous!" 40% of cobras can spit their venom up to seven feet away, aiming at their target's eyes. If the venom hits the eyes it starts to dissolve them as if it were an acid. This causes blindness in 2-5 minutes unless the eyes are washed with water or some other liquid.
- 3rd Edition. Sword And Sorcery's Creature Collection.
- The High Gorgon envenoms its weapons with an acidic poison partially derived from the poison injected by its snake heads.
- The Narleth's bite injects an acidic venom that causes paralysis. Multiple bites will cause the victim's flesh and bones to dissolve.
- The Magic The Gathering card Poison the Well shows someone carrying water in wooden pails, but where it has spilled out it's eaten holes in the ground. Apparently it's acid poison that only dissolves dirt.
- Amber Diceless Role-Playing, Shadow Knight supplement:
- The standard form of the Envenom spell is a poisonous acid that prevents rapid healing and regeneration of wounds.
- Demons can have a bite which injects a highly caustic poison. It has the same effect on healing/regeneration as the Envenom spell.
- Hollow Earth Expedition supplement Secrets of the Surface World. A wasp in the Amazon rain forest has a sting with venom so caustic it causes 2nd degree burns.
- Atlantis: The Lost World generic RPG setting. Demon Locusts have acid-like venom, and a Fire Salamander's skin exudes a caustic venom.
- Tunnels And Trolls. In one room of Solo Dungeon #4 Naked Doom there's a mist that is a dangerous acidic poison.
- Stormbringer supplement Stormbringer Companion. The Kyrenee monster's tentacles secrete an acid-based poison that does serious damage to any creature it touches.
- Traveller 2300 supplement Aurore Sourcebook. The Bladehood plant stabs its victims with blades covered by a highly acidic poison.
- Chaosium's supplement All the Worlds' Monsters. The longlicker's tongue exudes a paralysis poison that causes the cells of the victim's body to break down and dissolve into a fluid.
- Ares magazine #3 (July 1980). The Feedback section described Attack of the Giant Ants, a board game that SPI was considering creating. Inspired by the 1950's B movie Them, it had hordes of giant ants with "acidic ant venom", based on the formic acid in Real Life ant venom.
- Earthdawn supplement Dragons. A dragon's venom is corrosive and can cause damage to living targets. It can possibly even cause blindness if spat into a creature's eye.
- Pokémon plays with this. While moves such as Acid are classified as Poison-type attacks, they are among the only Poison attacks that don't have a chance of poisoning the opponent. But Ground- and Rock-type Pokémon resist Poison-type attacks (Poison-type Pokémon are also weak to Ground-type attacks), and Steel-types are completely immune to Poison.
- Acid and Acid Spray both lower the opponent's special defence drastically (Acid Spray is guaranteed to do so) which is supposed to represent the corrosive aspect. Gets kinda gross with gastric Acid - literally stomach acid that negates the opponent's ability. There are no actual acid Pokemon, as all Poison types are variations on piles of sludge/garbage or animals with poisonous features (like snakes).
- Gulpin and Swalot, due to being giant stomachs, could be said to be acid Pokemon, as there is no other reason for them to be poisonous other than their acid-spitting abilities, which constitutes poison in the Pokeverse. However, they do learn sludge, filth, and gas based moves as well, but these are probably to round them out as Poison-types, rather than leaving them with three attacks.
- Final Fantasy and similar RPGs can be assumed to use this trope with their poison-elemental attacks. Otherwise, they shouldn't deal any damage to mechanical or otherwise non-living targets. In some entries, such as the first, machines are indeed immune to poison.
- In MS Saga, the trope is subverted by being reversed: when you're dealing with Humongous Mecha, the "poison" Standard Status Effect takes the form of acid, meaning that Corrosive Stuff Is Poison.
- World of Warcraft has poisons and acids in the Nature category of magic. And many times if it's poison it's also acidic and vice versa. Though when it comes to some things, how close the two are is weird (mechanical enemies especially, some can be poisoned by a Hunter's Serpent Sting but others are immune, while they can all be harmed by acids; some enemies that are caustic piles of goo can be poisoned but are immune to other types of Nature damage; if you get hit by an acid attack chances are you'll also be poisoned for a duration of time; there's also poison attacks that don't actually poison but only do instant damage, acid attacks that don't do damage but lower your armor and poison that doesn't damage but lowers your speed [in fact one boss battle in the Trial of the Crusader involves having to remove one Jormungar Worm's Paralyzing Poison with another Jormungar's Burning Bile, an acid countering a poison]).
- The Vindictus MMORPG has an Acidic Poison Pouch item that contains an acidic poison.
- Runescape has a salesman who sells 'all purpose-poison'. In one quest, you learn that it's used for things like polishing family crests and cleaning fountains.
- "Toxic Waste" in LEGO Batman. Instakills everyone who steps in it, except for a few specific characters with immunity to poisonsnote .
- Cassiopeia from League of Legends has an ability called Miasma, which creates a circular pool of poison. It damages anything that walks over it, including robotic entities.
- Acid attacks and spells (like Acid Splash) in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind counts as poison.
- In Command & Conquer: Generals (and the Zero Hour expansion pack), the GLA's "anthrax" (implied to be more chemical cocktail than just a viral agent) can and will eventually wear down armored tanks and fortified buildings.
- In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money, the Sierra Madre Hotel and Casino is blanketed by a cloud of metal-corroding toxic smog. Possibly justified: The Cloud's purpose was to force people to use the experimental auto-docs that were on-site to test their surgical programming; it makes sense that it would be more corrosive than poisonous.
- Both Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry: The stirring something, then lifting the spoon and watching it dissolve is a repeated gag. Most often with horrible poisons, but also mysterious brews like the Jekyll & Hyde variety, and Gargle Blasters.
- In one of the Classic Disney Shorts (Mickey's Garden, 1935), Mickey prepared an insecticide at his backyard and the broom he was using to stir it "burned" from being inside it.
- The Real Ghostbusters: Overdone to the point of parody where a poisoned cup of milk eats through several floors. Given they were living through a mystery author's last novel, the surreality of it was intentional.
- In Asterix and Cleopatra, the Special Iced Arsenic Cake make by Artifis is so toxic that the batter Ate the Spoon - before he added the acid.
- Spider Bytez in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spits globs of venom that quickly dissolve objects it hits (and greatly hurts one of his own legs thanks to Raphael).
- In an episode of Futurama Bender drops some drinks he mixed and right after he leaves they eat through the floor.
- At the end of the opening titles to the series A Miss Mallard Mystery someone poisons Miss Mallard's drink, her nephew knocks it over, and the drink dissolves the wooden table.
- Animal venom
- The venom of species of snake contain enzymes that kick-start the digestive process. These hemotoxic venoms and myotoxic venoms cause tissue degradation, such as breaking down the muscles around the heart killing their prey.
- Some species of spiders have similar venoms, such as the brown recluse spider, which acts to dissolve the flesh of the victim, which is extremely painful.
- Nearly any spit-poison is acidic, as its primary function is usually to blind, which a normal poison wouldn't do.
- Formic acid is the main ingredient in ant venom.
- Hydrofluoric acid is very corrosive and highly toxic. It can diffuse through skin and spread fluorine around, creating all kinds of havoc — mainly by precipitation of calcium fluoride. It gets the calcium from your bones. In other words, it melts your bones from the inside out.
- It'll also take calcium from your blood, which is even worse. Losing calcium from your bones weakens them. Losing calcium from your blood slows or stops your heart. Direct skin contact with even a small amount of hydrofluoric acid is rarely survivable without prompt treatment. Treatment that you're unlikely to get, because the human body also needs calcium to transmit pain signals, leaving many victims entirely unaware that they've even been exposed until it's too late to do much more than say "poor bastard" and start making funeral arrangements.
- Some poisons, most notably arsenic sulfides, will tarnish a silver spoon (due to the sulfur, not the arsenic). This led to some royal families using silver spoons to detect poison.
- Concentrated potassium cyanide solutions are poisonous and corrosive for steel, copper and some other metals. With help of air even gold may be dissolved.
- Vesicants (blister agents) are poisons that are not normally corrosive to nonliving matter, but corrode and burn flesh, leaving nasty chemical burns and blisters. Typical examples are mustard gas and giant hogweed sap.
- It should be noted that the sap of various hogweeds creates burns when it comes into contact with UV light - chemicals in the sap can make one's skin hypersensitive to sunlight - a condition known as phytophotodermatitis. To make things worse, same condition can be caused by celery, various citruses, rues, wild carrots and other similar plants.
- Chlorine gas is poisonous to inhale, precisely because it's a strong oxidizer. Iron will burn in chlorine. Fluorine is an even more powerful oxidizer. Both are extremely dangerous in many forms because they are capable of oxidizing things which have already been oxidized - and some fluorine compounds can be used to set asbestos on fire. Metal-fluorine fires are impossible to extinguish until the metal or fluorine runs out.
- Oxygen is a very potent oxidizer and extremely toxic to organisms whose metabolism doesn't depend on it. Because of its abundance in Earth's atmosphere, most things which live on the surface, and most materials present on the surface, are already oxidized or resistant to oxidation. Even still, highly concentrated oxygen - about five times that of the partial pressure of oxygen on earth - is dangerous to living creatures over long periods of time, causing fluid accumulation in the lungs, likely due to the presence of free radicals, which, when excessively concentrated, overwhelm the body's natural ability to repair damage. Pure oxygen at atmospheric pressure can led to extremely vigorous combustion, including of materials which are not particularly flammable under ordinary conditions.
- The synthetic heroin "krokodil." (Disturbing image warning) So called because the skin around the injection site often becomes dry and flaky, like the skin of a crocodile, because it is so acidic. (It's made by cooking up codeine with gasoline, turpentine, and hydrochloric acid, just to name a few things.) This stuff can result in flesh just rotting and corroding right off, right down to the bone. For more absolute horror, it is incredibly addictive, which means that using it once may prevent you from stopping even as your skin rots off. Most krokodil users don't live more than 3 years after they start using it, and those that do survive and manage to stop are often permanently disfigured.