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[pes-tuh-sahyd] /ˈpɛs təˌsaɪd/
a chemical preparation for destroying plant, fungal, or animal pests.
Also called biocide.
Origin of pesticide
1935-40; pest + -i- + -cide
Related forms
pesticidal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pesticides
  • Several different pathogens threaten it, prompting farmers to use ever more pesticides.
  • Older generations of bedbugs weren't resistant to pesticides and lived in tougher environments: houses without central heating.
  • The mosquitoes that carry it have become resistant to pesticides, the parasite itself to antimalarial drugs.
  • And don't try to tell me that evolution explains why insects develop immunity to pesticides.
  • Next, we'll visit a tiny farming community where local farmers cultivate indigenous ragi grain without the use of pesticides.
  • Climate change, habitat destruction, pesticides and disease have all been suggested as possible causes.
  • Farmers are using more pesticides to control stink bug growth.
  • Forty per cent of the arable land has been degraded by fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Farmers, suddenly paid according to what they produce, are slathering their crops in pesticides to increase their yields.
  • The current situation will focus our minds on how to feed a growing population on less land and using fewer pesticides.
British Dictionary definitions for pesticides


a chemical used for killing pests, esp insects and rodents
Derived Forms
pesticidal, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pesticides



1939, a hybrid coined from English pest + Latinate -cide.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pesticides in Medicine

pesticide pes·ti·cide (pěs'tĭ-sīd')
A chemical used to kill pests, especially insects.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pesticides in Science
A chemical used to kill harmful animals or plants. Pesticides are used especially in agriculture and around areas where humans live. Some are harmful to humans, either from direct contact or as residue on food, or are harmful to the environment because of their high toxicity, such as DDT (which is now banned in many countries). Pesticides include fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides. See more at fungicide, herbicide, insecticide.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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