: a white crystalline acid C10H16N2O8 that is widely used as a chelating and sequestering (see sequester entry 1 sense 3) agent especially to inhibit the reactivity of metal ions

Note: In addition to industrial and scientific applications, EDTA is used as a food additive to preserve foods and inhibit discoloration. It is also used in medicine especially in chelation therapy to treat lead poisoning. EDTA is typically used in the form of a salt (such as the disodium salt C10H14N2O8Na2·2H2O or the calcium disodium salt C10H12N2O8Na2·3H2O).

Examples of EDTA in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another antidote — edetate calcium disodium, or EDTA, often used in tandem with dimercaprol — is also in short supply. Ed Silverman, STAT, 12 July 2023 Its vegan formula contains EDTA and vitamin C—which help break down chlorine molecules and dissolve residue. Joseph Cheatham, Men's Health, 17 July 2023 This includes chelating agents such as EDTA, phosphates, zeolites, polyphosphates, and others. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 8 Apr. 2023 Here is a good article on the concerns with the EDTA baits from Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott (Washington State University). oregonlive, 11 Mar. 2023

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

Word History


ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid

First Known Use

1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of EDTA was in 1951

Dictionary Entries Near EDTA

Cite this Entry

“EDTA.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/EDTA. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition

: a white crystalline acid C10H16N2O8 used in medicine as an anticoagulant and as a chelator in the treatment of lead poisoning

called also ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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