an·​ti·​mi·​cro·​bi·​al | \ ˌan-ti-mī-ˈkrō-bē-əl How to pronounce antimicrobial (audio) \

Definition of antimicrobial

: destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from antimicrobial

antimicrobial noun

Examples of antimicrobial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Camu camu's purported health benefits include reducing the risk of chronic diseases thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Julie Upton,, "The Health Benefits of Camu Camu, the Buzzy Superfood Popping Up Everywhere," 3 Oct. 2019 Hanging from their branches is old man’s beard, a lichen with antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Jill K. Robinson, National Geographic, "Gordon Ramsay Braves the Icy Alaska Panhandle," 17 July 2019 Davies was asked by the firm, Kisameet Glacial Clay, to study the clay’s antimicrobial properties. Smithsonian, "Soil From a Northern Ireland Graveyard May Lead Scientists to a Powerful New Antibiotic," 19 Dec. 2019 Many strains of bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens have become resistant to the antimicrobial drugs that once made treating infections a simple and routine part of medicine. Diane Shader Smith, STAT, "My daughter is gone but her legacy lives on through her writing and phage therapy," 13 Nov. 2019 In addition to ethylene inhibitors, the company is working on anti-microbial reactions and will soon bring to market antimicrobial liners for packages of berries, to ward off the white fuzz. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Bananas that last forever? Extending shelf life is a key weapon in the battle against food waste, and one Chicago startup is on the front lines.," 27 Nov. 2019 The oligosaccharides also appear to act as decoys that can bind microbial pathogens and may prevent them from infecting the infant, and other antimicrobial and immune-modulating functions are being investigated by researchers. Alice Callahan, Smithsonian, "In Pursuit of a Better Baby Formula," 25 Oct. 2019 Often, you’ll also be given an antimicrobial and antiseptic soap to wash your abdomen with before your surgery, says Dr. Sousou. Cassie Shortsleeve, Glamour, "What is a C-Section? Everything You Need to Know About the Procedure," 17 Nov. 2019 While the general public is increasingly aware of the growing toll of antimicrobial resistance, few outside the biotech community are aware of this other, commercial crisis facing the antibiotic sector. Megan Blewett, Fortune, "How to Cure the Antibiotic Industry’s Profitability Infection," 14 Nov. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of antimicrobial

1891, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antimicrobial

Time Traveler for antimicrobial

Time Traveler

The first known use of antimicrobial was in 1891

See more words from the same year

Statistics for antimicrobial

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Antimicrobial.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for antimicrobial


an·​ti·​mi·​cro·​bi·​al | \ ˌant-i-mī-ˌkrō-bē-əl How to pronounce antimicrobial (audio) \
variants: also antimicrobic \ -​ˈkrō-​bik How to pronounce antimicrobic (audio) \

Medical Definition of antimicrobial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms


variants: also antimicrobic

Medical Definition of antimicrobial (Entry 2 of 2)

: an antimicrobial substance

Comments on antimicrobial

What made you want to look up antimicrobial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!