an·​ti·​bac·​te·​ri·​al | \ ˌan-tē-bak-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce antibacterial (audio) , ˌan-ˌtī- How to pronounce antibacterial (audio) \

Definition of antibacterial

: directed or effective against bacteria antibacterial soap an antibacterial drug

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Other Words from antibacterial

antibacterial noun
In an effort to develop new antifungals, scientists are boning up on previous research on antibacterials. — Ellen Licking

Examples of antibacterial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s made from a super-soft 300-count bamboo viscose material, which aims to not only help with breathability and moisture-wicking but is also an anti-allergy and antibacterial material. Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "11 popular weighted blankets that shoppers swear by," 1 Oct. 2020 The Honest Company Disinfecting Spray is an antibacterial spray that kills 99.9 percent of viruses, including influenza A, rhinovirus, e. coli, listeria, salmonella, MRSA, and more. Christina Butan,, "Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Disinfectant Spray Can Kill Coronavirus in 10 Minutes — and It’s on Amazon," 16 Sep. 2020 They can also be used to create antibacterial surfaces, much like the tiny, similarly shaped rods in a cicada's wings can kill bacteria by rupturing their cell membranes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Girl With a Pearl Earring," 11 Sep. 2020 Gizmos abound: in-helmet face shields, antibacterial misters, no-blow whistles. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "How COVID-19 Reveals the Cruelty of Pro Football," 10 Sep. 2020 In fact, more than half the antibacterial treatment given to patients occurred before COVID tests results turned positive, researchers found. Kate Wells, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan coronavirus hospital patients got unneeded antibiotics, new study shows," 27 Aug. 2020 This includes enhanced daily cleaning, antibacterial solution stations in high-touch areas, reduced capacity, promotion of social distancing and mandated face coverings. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "Hale Farm offers safe, entertaining glimpse into the past: Talk of the Towns," 6 Aug. 2020 Between May and August, for example, Public Citizen found that ordinary antibacterial hand soap, which usually sells for around $1.50, was going for $7—a 470-percent price increase. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Price gouging and defective products rampant on Amazon, reports find," 11 Sep. 2020 The plant extract has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is widely considered to be an effective antifungal treatment. Morgan Smith,, "Woman Accidentally Dyes Her Cat Yellow with Turmeric Treatment, Sends Internet Into a Frenzy," 28 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antibacterial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of antibacterial

1879, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for antibacterial

Time Traveler

The first known use of antibacterial was in 1879

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Statistics for antibacterial

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Antibacterial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for antibacterial


How to pronounce antibacterial (audio) How to pronounce antibacterial (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of antibacterial

: able to kill bacteria


an·​ti·​bac·​te·​ri·​al | \ ˌant-i-bak-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce antibacterial (audio) , ˌan-ˌtī- How to pronounce antibacterial (audio) \

Medical Definition of antibacterial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: directed or effective against bacteria



Medical Definition of antibacterial (Entry 2 of 2)

: an antibacterial agent

More from Merriam-Webster on antibacterial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antibacterial

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