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

A few days of antibiotics clears things up for the vast majority of simple UTIs. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "This Is Why You Keep Getting UTIs After Sex," 13 Aug. 2018 If this strategy is successful, individuals should be able to eat again in a matter of days, and will then complete a one-to-two-week course of antibiotics. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "Diverticulitis can cause digestive problems for some," 7 June 2018 Conventional acne products, especially antibiotics, won’t help and might even make your symptoms worse. Sara Coughlin, SELF, "How to Know if You Have 'Fungal Acne'—and How to Treat it," 1 Apr. 2019 Luckily, after a weeklong stint in the hospital and some antibiotics, the patient is doing fine, according to BMJ Journals, which published the case report earlier this month. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "A Man Got an Infection in His Skull After Using Cotton Swabs," 18 Mar. 2019 The man spent almost a week in the hospital and then needed two additional months of intravenous and oral antibiotics to treat the infection. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "A Man Developed a Near-Fatal Infection in His Brain Lining After Using a Cotton Swab," 15 Mar. 2019 The fast-food chain is trying to draw in diners by revamping stores, using fresh ingredients and pushing sustainability initiatives such as one that requires beef suppliers to reduce their use of antibiotics over the next few years. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, "McDonald’s Pushes Up Prices in the U.S., But Overall Sales Drop," 30 Jan. 2019 The traumas caused by gas attacks, the appalling lack of sanitation in the trenches, and the absence of antibiotics often overwhelmed field hospitals. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Five Innovations to Emerge From the First World War," 11 Nov. 2018 In rare cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to other parts of the body, necessitating a course of antibiotics. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Recognize Salmonella Symptoms If You've Eaten Contaminated Products," 24 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

An antibiotic-resistant gene originally discovered in bacteria from India was found 8,000 miles away in a remote Arctic environment, according to a new study. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Superbug From India Spread Far and Fast, Study Finds," 27 Jan. 2019 When patients went to the doctor, just 7.1 percent of visits resulted in antibiotic prescriptions. Fox News, "Urgent care centers often prescribe unnecessary antibiotics," 19 July 2018 Another trip to the doctor suggested an ear infection, the first of three in a row requiring 10-day antibiotic prescriptions. Blake Sebring, Post-Tribune, "Town rallies around baby who successfully fought off cancer," 14 June 2018 In the report, the CDC looked at antibiotic prescriptions filled by pregnant women with UTIs in 2014. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s What You Need to Know About Treating a UTI While Pregnant," 18 Jan. 2018 Researchers believe the gene, found in bacteria in the soil of a Norwegian archipelago, made the trek in less than three years, highlighting the speed with which antibiotic resistance can spread on a global scale. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Superbug From India Spread Far and Fast, Study Finds," 27 Jan. 2019 The World Health Organization has said that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to human health globally. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "McDonald’s to Trim Antibiotics From Its Beef," 11 Dec. 2018 Too many antibiotics had created a hothouse of antibiotic-resistant bugs, and the dogs carried them to three towns... and counting. Verge Staff, The Verge, "Seven scary stories to tell by the light of your screen," 31 Oct. 2018 However, antibiotic resistance is making some cases difficult to treat, MedlinePlus explains. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Ozzy Osbourne Underwent Hand Surgery to Treat Multiple Staph Infections: ‘It Was Agony’," 23 Oct. 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

13 May 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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