dis·in·fect | \ˌdis-in-ˈfekt \

Definition of disinfect 

transitive verb

1 : to free from infection especially by destroying harmful microorganisms broadly : cleanse

2 : to remove a software virus (see virus sense 3) from (a computer or device) often by means of a special program The earliest viruses were relatively simple routines, and virus detectors could easily disinfect computers.— Philips Chien

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Other Words from disinfect

disinfection \ˌdis-in-ˈfek-shən \ noun

Examples of disinfect in a Sentence

Chemicals were added to disinfect the water. The wound needs to be disinfected.

Recent Examples on the Web

Sabrina Castle, another member of the team, said the project uses a five-step process to treat and disinfect the water. Diana Alba Soular, USA TODAY, "All-female engineer team tackles cleaning space station water," 12 Apr. 2018 In addition to disinfecting the bite and helping to prevent infection, tea tree oil is also anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce itch and prevent bug bites from swelling. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "13 Amazingly Useful Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Essential Oil," 27 July 2017 State health officials recommend disinfecting the bite site with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Heading outdoors? Here's how to protect yourself from a full bloom of mosquitoes and ticks in Wisconsin," 30 May 2018 This spray cools down flushed cheeks, fracks away excess oils, and disinfects the dirty stuff. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "How to Cure a Hangover: A Drinker’s Guide to Surviving the Morning After," 29 June 2018 Do not try to boil or disinfect water contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Disaster preparedness: How do you make drinking water safe," 8 July 2018 Because of this, focusing solely on switching out your sponges and disinfecting your countertops and other surfaces is a mistake. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Kitchen Towels Could Make You Seriously Sick," 21 June 2018 Crews will work to sanitize and disinfect the school. Fox News, "Connecticut university closes because of student illness," 23 Apr. 2018 Huffman seems to take the free speech absolutism approach of letting sunlight disinfect the world of extremist viewpoints and bigotry, or to offload the work to subreddit admins and site moderators when applicable. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Reddit CEO says racism is permitted on the platform, and users are up in arms," 11 Apr. 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disinfect

Middle French desinfecter, from des- dis- + infecter to infect

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Statistics for disinfect

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disinfect

The first known use of disinfect was in 1598

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More Definitions for disinfect



English Language Learners Definition of disinfect

: to clean (something) especially by using a chemical substance that kills all germs and bacteria

computers : to remove a virus from (a computer) by using a special program


dis·in·fect | \ˌdi-sᵊn-ˈfekt \
disinfected; disinfecting

Kids Definition of disinfect

: to cleanse of germs that might cause disease


transitive verb
dis·in·fect | \ˌdis-ᵊn-ˈfekt \

Medical Definition of disinfect 

: to free from infection especially by destroying harmful microorganisms

Other Words from disinfect

disinfection \-ˈfek-shən \ noun

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Comments on disinfect

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lying above or upon

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