antibiotic

noun
an·​ti·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌan-tē-bī-ˈä-tik How to pronounce antibiotic (audio) , -ˌtī-; -bē-ˈä- How to pronounce antibiotic (audio) \

Definition of antibiotic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a substance produced by or a semisynthetic (see semisynthetic sense 1) substance derived from a microorganism and able in dilute solution to inhibit or kill another microorganism The doctor prescribed an antibiotic to treat the infection.

antibiotic

adjective

Definition of antibiotic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : tending to prevent, inhibit, or destroy life
2 : of or relating to antibiotics or to antibiosis antibiotic drugs

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Other Words from antibiotic

Adjective

antibiotically \ ˌan-​tē-​bī-​ˈä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce antibiotically (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ ; -​bē-​ˈä-​ \ adverb

Examples of antibiotic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This means some bacteria can survive the antibiotics that were supposed to kill them. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "How Do You Stop Superbugs?," 4 July 2019 However, among the antibiotics detected in the conventional milk samples were sulfamethazine and sulfathiazole, according to the study. Rebekah Tuchscherer, USA TODAY, "Study finds residue of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormone in non-organic milk," 26 June 2019 The responses were split; some told the parent not to mess around and go to the doctors for antibiotics; others recommended colloidal silver and hydrogen peroxide. Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "They turn to Facebook and YouTube to find a cure for cancer — and get sucked into a world of bogus medicine," 25 June 2019 Every burger replaced with a Beyond Burger has an impact on CO2 emissions, demand for factory farming, and need for antibiotics. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Del Taco’s meatless meat tacos: an unlikely fast-food hit," 20 June 2019 First the antibiotic vancomycin was used to knock down the number of microbes in their guts. Bob Roehr, Smithsonian, "How the Gut Microbiome Could Provide a New Tool to Treat Autism," 14 June 2019 Pritt said that the treatment, an antibiotic called Doxycycline, is found to be effective when the disease is diagnosed early. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A tick gave a toddler a rare and deadly disease. Here’s what his parents want you to know.," 4 June 2019 Pritt said that the treatment, an antibiotic called Doxycycline, is found to be effective when the disease is diagnosed early. al.com, "What is Rocky Mountain spotted fever? Ticks spread rare, deadly disease," 3 June 2019 Dentists often write prescriptions ahead of procedures so that patients will have them on hand in case the antibiotics are needed. oregonlive.com, "Dentists overprescribe antibiotics before surgery 80 percent of time, OSU study says," 3 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Like strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, their infiltration of our country cannot be stopped, so there’s little point in fighting it. Lucas Kwan Peterson, latimes.com, "The official spicy snack power rankings," 2 July 2019 Another study suggested it may be linked to the spread of antibiotic resistance. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Study links common chemical in cosmetics and toothpaste to osteoporosis," 25 June 2019 Fecal transplant patients According to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), FMT candidates must have suffered from three different C. diff infections that resisted antibiotic treatment to be eligible for the procedure. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "How Is a Fecal Transplant Done? Here’s Why the FDA is Now Warning Patients About Them," 17 June 2019 The healing soil of alkaline grasslands in Northern Ireland, used in traditional medicine, was found to contain bacteria effective against antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 May 2019 The specific bacteria these researchers located carries an antibiotic resistance gene called blaNDM-1, which was first identified in busy urban hospitals in India a decade ago. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Found 'Superbugs' in Remote Arctic Wilderness," 29 Jan. 2019 He was released less than two hours later, the timeline shows, with a prescription for the antibiotic amoxicillin and a second painkiller, Ibuprofen. Dan Frosch, WSJ, "Homeland Security Steps Up Medical Services for Migrants After Two Children Die," 26 Dec. 2018 Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bug that causes gonorrhea, has relentlessly vanquished every antibiotic medical practice has used against it. Helen Branswell, STAT, "A case study in the fast-rising threat of antibiotic resistance," 6 July 2018 The big pharmaceutical companies are also slowly bringing their antibiotic research pipelines back to life, led by U.K.-based Glaxo. Ari Altstedter, Bloomberg.com, "The Startups Waging War Against Superbugs," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antibiotic.' 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 antibiotic

Noun

1943, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for antibiotic

Noun

derivative of antibiotic entry 2

Note: Noun use of the adjective antibiotic probably began in the early 1940's, preceded by the frequent collocation antibiotic substance, but was not common before Selman Waksman's paper "What Is an Antibiotic or an Antibiotic Substance?" (Mycologia, vol. 39, no. 5 [September-October, 1947]). Waksman has been credited with coining antibiotic, though he does not claim to have done so, and in fact gives an account of the earlier history of the word in this article.

Adjective

borrowed from French antibiotique, derivative of antibiose antibiosis (after symbiose symbiosis : symbiotique symbiotic)

Note: See note at antibiosis.

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Statistics for antibiotic

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for antibiotic

The first known use of antibiotic was in 1891

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More Definitions for antibiotic

antibiotic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of antibiotic

medical : a drug that is used to kill harmful bacteria and to cure infections

antibiotic

noun
an·​ti·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌan-ti-bī-ˈä-tik How to pronounce antibiotic (audio) \

Kids Definition of antibiotic

: a substance produced by living things and especially by bacteria and fungi that is used to kill or prevent the growth of harmful germs

antibiotic

adjective
an·​ti·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ -bī-ˈät-ik; -bē- How to pronounce antibiotic (audio) \

Medical Definition of antibiotic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : tending to prevent, inhibit, or destroy life
2 : of or relating to antibiotics or to antibiosis

Other Words from antibiotic

antibiotically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce antibiotically (audio) \ adverb

antibiotic

noun

Medical Definition of antibiotic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance produced by or a semisynthetic substance derived from a microorganism and able in dilute solution to inhibit or kill another microorganism

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Comments on antibiotic

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