para·​quat | \ ˈper-ə-ˌkwät How to pronounce paraquat (audio) , ˈpa-rə- \

Definition of paraquat

: a highly toxic contact herbicide containing a salt of a cation [C12H14N2]2+

Examples of paraquat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In two of the species, resistance to oxidative stress went up when the queen was removed, almost doubling the workers’ chance of surviving treatment with paraquat. Tim Vernimmen, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Jan. 2022 Kalmuss-Katz said paraquat has also been found to cause kidney and respiratory problems. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 Sep. 2021 But sometimes the pigweed can appear to resurrect itself even after an application of paraquat: Nicolet recalled a recent instance in which the weeds appeared to die, only to start growing again a few days later. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 The Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump proposed last year to renew U.S. registration of paraquat for 15 years, the renewal period set by law while banning nearly all aerial spraying of the herbicide. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 Sep. 2021 This field had been sprayed between plantings with an herbicide containing paraquat. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 An investigation by Public Eye, a Swiss NGO, and Unearthed, the journalism branch of Greenpeace, quotes the doctor Shankar Ramchandani, who went on a 2019 hunger strike in Odisha, India to protest paraquat sales. Christine Ro, Forbes, 4 Apr. 2021 Similarly, in South Korea, a ban on the herbicide paraquat was followed by a 50% decrease in suicide deaths from pesticide poisoning from 2011-2013. Katie Hunt, CNN, 9 Sep. 2019 For comparison, a 2010 study found that 42.7 percent of people admitted to two Sri Lankan hospitals for suicide attempts involving the herbicide paraquat wound up dying. Dylan Matthews, Vox, 15 Nov. 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of paraquat

circa 1961, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for paraquat

para- + quaternary

Learn More About paraquat

Time Traveler for paraquat

Time Traveler

The first known use of paraquat was circa 1961

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near paraquat




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for paraquat

Cite this Entry

“Paraquat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for paraquat


para·​quat | \ ˈpar-ə-ˌkwät How to pronounce paraquat (audio) \

Medical Definition of paraquat

: an herbicide containing a salt of a cation [C12H14N2]2+ that is used especially as a weed killer and that is extremely toxic to the liver, kidneys, and lungs if ingested

More from Merriam-Webster on paraquat Encyclopedia article about paraquat


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!