dis·in·fec·tant | \ˌdis-in-ˈfek-tənt \

Definition of disinfectant 

: an agent that frees from infection especially : a chemical that destroys vegetative forms of harmful microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi) especially on inanimate objects but that may be less effective in destroying spores

Examples of disinfectant in a Sentence

They use a strong disinfectant on the medical equipment. Clean the area with disinfectant.

Recent Examples on the Web

Also, don’t spray disinfectant directly onto the device. Markham Heid, Time, "How Often Should I Clean My Phone?," 13 June 2018 After he was wheeled into the hospital, firefighter Rick Erickson stayed back, cleaning the gurney, spraying disinfectant and mopping. Anchorage Daily News, "An endless loop: Homeless, alcoholic and dependent on Anchorage’s fraying and expensive safety net," 20 Jan. 2016 An autopsy found high levels of an benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant, in his body, the Japanese news outlet reported. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Nurse poisoned at least 20 ailing patients so they would die during someone else's watch," 10 July 2018 Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has set standards and regulations for 90 different contaminants in tap water, including microorganisms, disinfectants, and radionuclides. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Meet “raw” water—ludicrously priced unfiltered water with random bacteria," 3 Jan. 2018 To avoid infection and other complications, the AAP recommends having a medical professional perform a piercing, using rubbing alcohol or some form of disinfectant. PEOPLE.com, "Kylie Jenner Pierces 5-Month-Old Daughter Stormi's Ears: How Safe Is the Procedure for Babies?," 12 July 2018 And not only lead, but trihalomethane (TTHM) – a chemical byproduct of chlorine disinfectant. Richard Horan, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Poisoned City' tells the horrific story of Flint's contaminated water," 10 July 2018 In this photo taken on Sunday, May 13, 2018, a health worker sprays disinfectant on officials outside an Ebola treatment center in Bikoro Democratic Republic of Congo. Washington Post, "Congo’s Ebola outbreak reports 1st confirmed urban case," 17 May 2018 These areas are separated from other parts of the plant by special doors and pools of disinfectant on floor spaces near each entryway. Joseph A. Mann Jr., miamiherald, "Fullei Fresh puts sprouts on your table | Miami Herald," 17 May 2018

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

1837, in the meaning defined above

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27 Sep 2018

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The first known use of disinfectant was in 1837

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English Language Learners Definition of disinfectant

: a chemical substance that is used to kill harmful germs and bacteria : a substance that disinfects something


dis·in·fec·tant | \ˌdi-sᵊn-ˈfek-tənt \

Kids Definition of disinfectant

: something that kills germs


dis·in·fec·tant | \-ˈfek-tənt \

Medical Definition of disinfectant 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: an agent that frees from infection especially : a chemical that destroys vegetative forms of harmful microorganisms (as bacteria and fungi) especially on inanimate objects but that may be less effective in destroying spores



Medical Definition of disinfectant (Entry 2 of 2)

: serving or tending to disinfect : suitable for use in disinfecting

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More from Merriam-Webster on disinfectant

Spanish Central: Translation of disinfectant

Nglish: Translation of disinfectant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about disinfectant

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