neo·​nic·​o·​ti·​noid ˌnē-(ˌ)ō-ˈni-kə-tə-ˌnȯid How to pronounce neonicotinoid (audio)
plural neonicotinoids
: any of a class of systemic water-soluble insecticides (such as imidacloprid) chemically related to nicotine that are used especially in agriculture to control destructive pests (such as aphids and mites) and that selectively bind to the postsynaptic nicotinic receptors of insects to produce paralysis and death
The class of chemicals, called neonicotinoids, is used in agricultural fields worldwide to reduce crop-eating pests.Beth Mole
Neonicotinoids … are applied as seed or soil treatments, and also directly to the foliage of vegetable, orchard, field, turf and ornamental crops.Kathy Keatley Garvey
Several reports have blamed neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of pesticide, for aiding in the nearly decade-long die-off of honeybees.Douglas Quenqua

called also neonic

Examples of neonicotinoid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The adverse effects of the insecticides known as neonicotinoids on bees are well documented. Lars Chittka, Scientific American, 14 June 2023 Now, a group of researchers has added heat to the debate, showing that even small amounts of one particular neonicotinoid — a neurotoxic insecticide called imidacloprid — can affect migrating songbirds’ appetites. Roni Dengler, Discover Magazine, 11 Sep. 2019 The worrisome study of birds, published in July in the journal Nature, focused on the effect of imidacloprid, the most popular neonicotinoid, on 15 species. Dan Hurley, Discover Magazine, 25 Nov. 2014 But the pesticides, like pyrethroid and neonicotinoid, are toxic to bees. Theresa MacHemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 July 2020 According to a paper published Thursday in the journal Science, 75 percent of those honey samples were contaminated with at least one neonicotinoid. Lauren Sigfusson, Discover Magazine, 5 Oct. 2017

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

Word History


neo- + nicotinoid "neurotoxic compound related to nicotine," from nicotine + -oid entry 1

First Known Use

1993, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of neonicotinoid was in 1993

Dictionary Entries Near neonicotinoid

Cite this Entry

“Neonicotinoid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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