One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A synthetic organophosphorus compound which is used as an insecticide.
- ‘Nearly all of the streams in urban areas contained insecticides commonly used on lawns, such as diazinon and malathion.’
- ‘The alcohol in malathion lotion and the terpenoids may cause stinging.’
- ‘It is not likely that malathion will cause reproductive effects in humans under normal circumstances.’
- ‘Recommended chemical treatments include such common insecticides as permethrin, malathion, diazinon and sevin.’
- ‘It is not known whether children are more sensitive to the effects of malathion than adults.’
1950s: from ( diethyl) mal(eate) (see maleic acid) + thio- + -on.
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