pes·​ti·​cide | \ˈpe-stə-ˌsīd \

Definition of pesticide 

: an agent used to destroy pests

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Other Words from pesticide

pesticidal \ˌpe-​stə-​ˈsī-​dᵊl \ adjective

Examples of pesticide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The pesticide chlordane was first used in homes in 1948. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Farms and agricultural regions have dramatically lowered pesticide and fertilizer use and ocean runoff, decreasing pollution. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How Things Got So Bad for the Great Barrier Reef," 25 Oct. 2018 Shatynski avoids using pesticides; if a plant is too susceptible to pests, it is removed and replaced with a more appropriate choice. Dawn Standke,, "Tally up your garden’s earth friendliness," 12 July 2018 Using these tactics, farmers often get better results using less pesticide. James Degregori, STAT, "Using the principles of evolution to treat and prevent cancer," 27 June 2018 The Work tee is built from hemp, which requires no irrigation and uses no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, as well as chemical-free organic cotton. Jakob Schiller, Outside Online, "Six Good Old T-Shirt's, Just in Time for Summer," 22 May 2018 Bowery doesn’t use any pesticides or agri-chemicals. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "This Startup Is Building the Techiest Indoor Farm in the World," 28 Feb. 2018 There have been similar complaints in pot-friendly Colorado, where cultivators are dealing with new, required pesticide tests. Michael R. Blood, The Seattle Times, "Many California marijuana products failing safety tests," 10 Sep. 2018 Don’t spray pesticides or try to treat the problem yourself. Julia Terruso,, "What to know about bedbug prevention, treatment," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pesticide.' 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 pesticide

circa 1925, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for pesticide

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pesticide

The first known use of pesticide was circa 1925

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More Definitions for pesticide



English Language Learners Definition of pesticide

: a chemical that is used to kill animals or insects that damage plants or crops


pes·​ti·​cide | \ˈpe-stə-ˌsīd \

Kids Definition of pesticide

: a substance used to destroy pests (as insects or weeds)


pes·​ti·​cide | \ˈpes-tə-ˌsīd \

Medical Definition of pesticide 

: an agent used to destroy pests

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More from Merriam-Webster on pesticide

Spanish Central: Translation of pesticide

Nglish: Translation of pesticide for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on pesticide

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to enclose within walls

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