Definition of aseptic
- aseptic techniques
- an aseptic operating room
- aseptic essays
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patients with compromised immune systems must be treated in aseptic environments
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Things cleaned specifically in a way that prevents infection were first described as aseptic in the late 19th century. The word combines the prefix a-, meaning "not," and septic, from Greek sēptikos, meaning "putrifying." Aseptic was preceded by more than a century by antiseptic (from anti-, meaning "opposing," and sēptikos), which entered English with the meaning "opposing sepsis, putrefaction, or decay." Both words can also be used, like sterile, to suggest a lack of emotion, warmth, or interest. Evelyn Toynton used aseptic thus in The New York Times Book Review, November 22, 1987: "It's hard not to feel that an element of romance has been lost, that the vast chilly reaches of outer space are a pretty aseptic substitute for the shadowy depths under the ground.…"
First Known Use: circa 1859See Words from the same year
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