: a colorless odorless water-insoluble insecticide C14H9Cl5 that is an aromatic organochlorine banned in the U.S. that tends to accumulate and persist in ecosystems and has toxic effects on many vertebrates

Examples of DDT in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The marine biologist and passionate writer gave powerful voice to the harmful effect of pesticides like DDT. Angelica Aboulhosn, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Nov. 2023 His grandfather was sprayed with DDT entering the country to work as a bracero in the 1950s; a great-great-uncle was Santo Toribio Romo, a Catholic martyr killed by anti-clerical government forces in Mexico in the 1920s. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2023 In the 1950s and 1960s farmers, municipalities and even homeowners were widely spraying the insecticide DDT to kill pests. The Editors, Scientific American, 17 Oct. 2023 Her reporting has also exposed the toxic legacy of DDT dumping off the coast of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sep. 2023 In the 1970s, DDT was banned, and eventually a major effort to breed peregrine falcons in captivity and return them to the wild helped replenish their numbers. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 2 July 2023 The book highlights the effects of pesticides on the environment, especially DDT, which was a very popular insecticide until it was finally banned in 1972. Gabriella Sotelo, Treehugger, 15 Aug. 2023 The population decrease comes after decades of peregrine falcons’ recovery from the effects of DDT, a compound introduced in 1947 to kill mosquitoes and other insects. Ned Rozell | Alaska Science, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Aug. 2023 Some had been pushed to the brink by habitat destruction or pollutants such as the pesticide DDT. John Flesher, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'DDT.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


dichlor- + diphenyl + trichlor- (from tri- + chlor-)

First Known Use

1943, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of DDT was in 1943

Dictionary Entries Near DDT

Cite this Entry

“DDT.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/DDT. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

: a colorless formerly used insecticide that is poisonous to many animals with backbones

Medical Definition

: a colorless odorless water-insoluble crystalline insecticide C14H9Cl5 that tends to accumulate in ecosystems and has toxic effects on many vertebrates

called also chlorophenothane, dicophane

More from Merriam-Webster on DDT

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