ro·​te·​none | \ ˈrō-tə-ˌnōn How to pronounce rotenone (audio) \

Definition of rotenone

: a crystalline insecticide C23H22O6 obtained from the roots of several tropical plants (such as a derris) that is highly toxic to fish but is of low toxicity to warm-blooded animals and is used especially in home gardens

Examples of rotenone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web From 2013 to 2015, 11 miles (18 kilometers) of Silver King Creek and three tributaries were treated with a fish toxicant, rotenone, to remove all non-native species. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rare California trout species returns to native habitat," 17 Sep. 2019 The rotenone naturally breaks down from exposure to sunlight and is expected to fully degrade in about 10 days. Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News, "Biologists scoop up invasive goldfish at Cuddy Pond," 24 July 2019 Sikorsky harvested 12 fish, flew them to a private hatchery, and arranged to have the pond sterilized with rotenone, a pesticide dropped from, ironically, two Sikorsky Blackhawks contracted from the National Guard. Brian Irwin,, "Turn-of-the-century sporting camp offers relaxation, fly fishing," 11 July 2018 Nymphs can be controlled with insecticidal soap, pyrethrum, rotenone or neem. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: Black-eyed Susans with fungal leaf spot disease," 11 July 2017

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

1904, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rotenone

International Scientific Vocabulary, from Japanese roten derris plant

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Time Traveler for rotenone

Time Traveler

The first known use of rotenone was in 1904

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Cite this Entry

“Rotenone.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for rotenone


ro·​te·​none | \ ˈrōt-ᵊn-ˌōn How to pronounce rotenone (audio) \

Medical Definition of rotenone

: a crystalline insecticide C23H22O6 that is of low toxicity for warm-blooded animals and is used especially in home gardens

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