cau·​ter·​ize | \ ˈkȯ-tə-ˌrīz How to pronounce cauterize (audio) \
cauterized; cauterizing

Definition of cauterize

transitive verb

1 : to sear with a cautery or caustic cauterize a wound
2 : to make insensible : deaden They will do anything to stay in office; their consciences have been cauterized.

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Other Words from cauterize

cauterization \ ˌkȯ-​tə-​rə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce cauterize (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cauterize



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Examples of cauterize in a Sentence

The doctors cauterized the wound. time had cauterized his bitterness, and he was willing to let bygones be bygones
Recent Examples on the Web Surgical ablation can help, but cauterizing healthy heart cells should be done with caution. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "MIT’s Koch Institute wins STAT Madness with technology to see tiny ovarian tumors," 6 Apr. 2020 Meanwhile, the screens that have cauterized us are now our primary means of communication. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "With coronavirus, we are all living a dystopian film," 20 Mar. 2020 The conventional wisdom of the time held that bullet wounds should be cauterized with boiling oil. John J. Ross, WSJ, "‘The Invention of Surgery’ Review: Honing Their Craft," 6 Mar. 2020 These weren’t just open cuts but gaping, bleeding, raw wounds that a single one-day protest was never going to cauterize. Hannah Seligson, Marie Claire, "Behind the Scenes of the Controversy at the Women's March," 17 Jan. 2020 The remedy, accordingly, has been to restrict the production and distribution of narcotics: Smash the cartels, cauterize the trafficking routes, arrest the dealers. Gideon Lewis-kraus, Wired, "Bad Algorithms Didn't Break Democracy," 15 Jan. 2020 First, the brain is mostly freed from the skull; all the dangling arteries, save the carotids, are cauterized or sutured. Matthew Shaer, New York Times, "Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?," 2 July 2019 Debate — philosophically and physiologically — makes us human, whereas dogma cauterizes our potential as a species. Bettany Hughes, New York Times, "How Christians Destroyed the Ancient World," 8 June 2018 Even after multiple rounds of tumor-removal surgery using a cauterizing carbon dioxide laser, persistent tumor regrowth is a recurring problem in infected sea turtles. Jessica Alice Farrell, Smithsonian, "Should We Share Human Cancer Treatments With Tumorous Turtles?," 11 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cauterize

see cautery

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Time Traveler for cauterize

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The first known use of cauterize was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Cauterize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of cauterize

medical : to burn (something, such as a wound) with heat or a chemical substance in order to destroy infected tissue


transitive verb
variants: or British cauterise \ ˈkȯt-​ə-​ˌrīz How to pronounce cauterize (audio) \
cauterized or British cauterised; cauterizing or British cauterising

Medical Definition of cauterize

: to sear with a cautery or caustic

Other Words from cauterize

cauterization or British cauterisation \ ˌkȯt-​ə-​rə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce cauterize (audio) \ noun

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Nglish: Translation of cauterize for Spanish Speakers

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