adjective \ˌan-tə-ˈsep-tik\

Definition of ANTISEPTIC

a :  opposing sepsis, putrefaction, or decay; especially :  preventing or arresting the growth of microorganisms (as on living tissue)
b :  acting or protecting like an antiseptic
:  relating to or characterized by the use of antiseptics
a :  scrupulously clean :  aseptic
b :  extremely neat or orderly; especially :  neat to the point of being bare or uninteresting
c :  free from what is held to be contaminating
a :  coldly impersonal <an antiseptic greeting>
b :  of, relating to, or being warfare conducted with cold precision from a safe distance with few or no casualties on one's side <antiseptic bombings>
an·ti·sep·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of ANTISEPTIC

  1. <known for keeping a strenuously antiseptic kitchen, the floor of which does indeed seem fit for eating off of>
  2. <for such an expensive, elegant Sunday brunch, one would expect the attendants at the buffet tables to be professionally attired in starched, antiseptic white jackets>


anti- + Greek sēptikos putrefying, septic
First Known Use: 1751

Other Pharmacology Terms

anodyne, cathartic, emetic, emollient, liniment, paregoric, poultice, purgative, soporific, spectrum



: a substance that prevents infection in a wound by killing bacteria

Full Definition of ANTISEPTIC

:  a substance that inhibits the growth or action of microorganisms especially in or on living tissue; also :  germicide

Examples of ANTISEPTIC

  1. Clean the affected area with an antiseptic.
  2. He applied antiseptic to the wound.

First Known Use of ANTISEPTIC


Other Pharmacology Terms

anodyne, cathartic, emetic, emollient, liniment, paregoric, poultice, purgative, soporific, spectrum


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of a variety of agents applied to living tissue to destroy or inhibit growth of infectious microorganisms. An antiseptic's efficiency depends on concentration, time, and temperature. It is most valuable in the disinfection of contaminated wounds or skin surfaces when a wide margin exists between the concentration at which it is germicidal and that at which it is toxic to the body's cells. Many antiseptics destroy specific types or forms of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria but not spores). Among the major families of antiseptics are alcohols, phenols, chlorine and iodine compounds, mercury-based tinctures, certain acridine dyes, and some essential oils. Antiseptics are distinguished from disinfectants, which are germicidal agents used to destroy microorganisms on inanimate surfaces. See also antibiotic.


Next Word in the Dictionary: antiserum
Previous Word in the Dictionary: antisepsis
All Words Near: antiseptic

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up antiseptic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More