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

These superbugs can’t be fought with any antibiotics, and getting infected with them can often be a death sentence. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Found 'Superbugs' in Remote Arctic Wilderness," 29 Jan. 2019 Four months of bedrest had left me with atrophied muscles and a body overloaded with ice cream, antibiotics, and painkillers—this would be great test of Espace Chenot’s efficacy. Irena Medavoy, Town & Country, "How to Detox Like a Hollywood Power Player," 5 Nov. 2018 Along with flu shots, others that tend to cause stinging and soreness later are tetanus, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), pneumonia, typhoid, and some antibiotics, like penicillin, Stewart explained. Erica Sweeney, Teen Vogue, "Why Do Some Vaccines Hurt More Than Others?," 24 Oct. 2018 Treatment typically involves an antibiotic, either through a topical gel or oral medication, and can be cleared up within a week in most cases. Samantha Lefave, Redbook, "Why You Should Never Ignore Sweet-Smelling Urine (or These Other Body Odors)," 3 Aug. 2018 Veneers can fix a number of dental issues including chipping, staining, old restorations and fillings, an uneven or narrow smile, spacing problems, crowding, a poor bite and even internal staining from antibiotics or fluorosis. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "What to Consider Before Getting Veneers on Your Teeth," 28 Feb. 2019 Your doctor can try to determine what kind of bacteria is causing the issue, then offer treatment such as antibiotics to help. 2. Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Belly Button Infections You Can Get (and What to Do If You Have One)," 23 Feb. 2019 Talakoub suggests applying either a topical antibiotic solution (like Neosporin) or topical steroid (like Cortizone) over the area with bumps. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "How To Get Rid Of Annoying Razor Bumps," 21 Feb. 2019 If that doesn’t help, talk to your dermatologist about getting a topical antibiotic. Kara Wahlgren, Seventeen, "5 Things You Need to Know About Butt Pimples," 13 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Of the 1,045 patients between August 2016 and July 2017 whose urine tested positive for the bacteria, 6% exhibited antibiotic resistance to common treatments like penicillin. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "UTIs Are Reportedly Becoming More Resistant to Antibiotics," 23 Aug. 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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Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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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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