Definition of DDT in US English:



  • A synthetic organic compound used as an insecticide. Like other chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons, DDT tends to persist in the environment and become concentrated in animals at the head of the food chain. Its use is now banned in many countries.

    Chemical formula: CCl₃CH(C₆H₄Cl)₂

    • ‘The book had a powerful influence, and governments throughout the world banned DDT and other pesticides.’
    • ‘After the Second World War, Europe and North America used DDT to eradicate malaria.’
    • ‘After the war, DDT came into use for commercial and public health purposes.’
    • ‘Farmers used DDT to protect cash crops like cotton, corn, and apples from a wide variety of agricultural pests.’
    • ‘The bald eagle population on the islands was eliminated by DDT poisoning in the early 1960s.’
    • ‘Many ecologists blamed the usual suspects for the bird losses: DDT, defoliants, avian malaria, suburban blight.’
    • ‘The insecticide DDT has long been a prime target of anti-chemical and anti-pesticide campaigners.’
    • ‘A major chemical industry sprang up after the discovery of the potent insecticidal properties of DDT.’
    • ‘The arrival of the insecticide DDT, which was effective against malaria-carrying mosquitoes and typhus-bearing lice, seemed to be a miracle.’
    • ‘In a long-term joint effort, city and state biologists are identifying, monitoring and studying the falcons, which nearly faced extinction in the 1960s from the pesticide DDT.’
    • ‘Since DDT was reintroduced in South Africa in April 2000, the number of mosquitoes is down.’
    • ‘DDT was applied widely as an insecticide in North America until it was banned in 1972.’


1940s: abbreviation of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.



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