noun \ˈ-tō-ˌklāv\

Definition of AUTOCLAVE

:  an apparatus in which special conditions (as high or low pressure or temperature) can be established for a variety of applications; especially :  an apparatus (as for sterilizing) using steam under high pressure


French, from aut- + Latin clavis key — more at clavicle
First Known Use: 1876


transitive verb

Definition of AUTOCLAVE

:  to treat in an autoclave

First Known Use of AUTOCLAVE



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Vessel, usually of steel, able to withstand high temperatures and pressures. The chemical industry uses various types of autoclaves in manufacturing dyes and in other chemical reactions requiring high pressures. In bacteriology and medicine, instruments, equipment, supplies, and culture media are sterilized by superheated steam in an autoclave. In 1679 Denis Papin (1647–c. 1712) invented a prototype known as a steam digester; still used in cooking, it is now called a pressure cooker.


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