As we all know, exposure to high levels of benzene will reduce white blood cell counts.

So what does "take toll on" mean in "benzene takes toll on white blood cell"?

I know that toll means to sound a bell to declare death or to charge, when used as a verb. But what does "toll" mean here? The charge? "Benzene take toll on white blood cell" means "benzene cost white blood cell('s life)"? Maybe.
It's the third definition here, Jeff:


Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin tolonium, alteration of Late Latin telonium customhouse, from Greek tolOnion, from telOnEs collector of tolls, from telos tax, toll; perhaps akin to Greek tlEnai to bear
1 : a tax or fee paid for some liberty or privilege (as of passing over a highway or bridge)
2 : compensation for services rendered: as a : a charge for transportation b : a charge for a long-distance telephone call
3 : a grievous or ruinous price <inflation has taken its toll>; especially : cost in life or health <the death toll from the hurricane>
Thank you, Davkett. I guess I guessed it right. Emotion: smile
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Are you sure it wasn't "take a toll on"? I've never heard it without the "a".
Neither have I ... "Take a toll", or "take its toll"...
I don't know. I drew it from Scientific American. It is a title: Even at Low Levels, Benzene Takes Toll on White Blood Cells.
Maybe it's a typo, or maybe the author wanted to make the title concise.
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Exactly, Jeff. It's a familiar technique in titles and headlines. And if that were known in your post, you wouldn't be seeing these peripheral comments. People accept a level of compression in a headline, although some of those compressions occasionally carry an unwanted meaning.
Got chew. Emotion: smile