in·​sec·​ti·​cide | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌsīd How to pronounce insecticide (audio) \
plural insecticides

Definition of insecticide

: an agent that destroys one or more species of insects broadly : an agent that destroys insects as well as other small pests (such as mites or nematodes) Aphids, mealybugs, and cyclamen mites are all common problems and can be controlled with any low-toxicity insecticide sold specifically for houseplants. Horticulture

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Examples of insecticide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The insecticide Anvil 10+10 will be sprayed from an airplane for several days from dusk until midnight, officials said. Maria Lovato,, "22 communities at high risk from mosquito-borne virus; Mass. to spray insecticide," 6 Aug. 2019 An insecticide is being used to kill the fleas that are spreading the disease to the prairie dogs. Emily Caron,, "Areas Around Dick's Sporting Goods Park Temporarily Closed Due to Plague," 2 Aug. 2019 Then the James suffered a second blow when the insecticide Kepone was illegally dumped in the river in the '60s and '70s. Tamara Dietrich,, "Bald eagles have come back from the dead in the Chesapeake Bay," 13 July 2019 And insecticides designed to kill the buggers don’t always work. Brian Resnick, Vox, "One big reason you can’t get rid of cockroaches," 3 July 2019 That’s a possible step toward predicting what insecticides would be useless for fighting certain populations, as well as a potential lead for coming up with new chemical weapons against the insect. Malcolm Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Science Says: Why scientists prize plant, animal genomes," 3 Apr. 2019 Also, consider treating things like your clothes, shoes, and camping gear with products that contain 0.5 percent of the insecticide permethrin, which stays effective for several washes, the CDC says (or buy gear pre-treated with this chemical). Patia Braithwaite, SELF, "8 Tick-Borne Illnesses That Aren’t Lyme Disease," 26 July 2019 While effective against diseases such as malaria, the insecticide’s harm to wildlife has led to its use being greatly restricted. San Diego Union-Tribune, "DDT contaminants in marine mammals may threaten California condor recovery," 11 July 2019 The first rotating insecticide test failed to reduce the apartment building’s roach population but kept it at a flat rate. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Not Even Chemicals Can Stop the Indomitable Cockroach," 5 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insecticide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insecticide

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insecticide

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Statistics for insecticide

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insecticide

The first known use of insecticide was in 1865

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More Definitions for insecticide



English Language Learners Definition of insecticide

: a chemical substance that is used to kill insects


in·​sec·​ti·​cide | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌsīd How to pronounce insecticide (audio) \

Kids Definition of insecticide

: a chemical used to kill insects


in·​sec·​ti·​cide | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌsīd How to pronounce insecticide (audio) \

Medical Definition of insecticide

: an agent that destroys insects

Other Words from insecticide

insecticidal \ (ˌ)in-​ˌsek-​tə-​ˈsīd-​ᵊl How to pronounce insecticidal (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on insecticide

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with insecticide

Spanish Central: Translation of insecticide

Nglish: Translation of insecticide for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of insecticide for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about insecticide

Comments on insecticide

What made you want to look up insecticide? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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