dis·​in·​fec·​tant | \ ˌdis-in-ˈfek-tənt How to pronounce disinfectant (audio) \

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

In a video shot Tuesday and released by the Royal Thai Navy on its Facebook page, a medic applies brown disinfectant to the wounded feet of one skinny boy, still wearing his soccer uniform. George Styllis, latimes.com, "Thai boys practicing with diving masks, but it's still too early to attempt evacuation," 4 July 2018 Formaldehyde is used in products ranging from particleboard to disinfectants and embalming fluid. Heidi Vogt, WSJ, "EPA’s Top Leaders Stymied Research Unit, Report Finds," 14 Feb. 2019 Some states have cut back on budgets for their drinking water programs, and many communities focus on tracking just a handful of key contaminants like coliform or disinfectant byproducts. New York Times, "Here Are the Places That Struggle to Meet the Rules on Safe Drinking Water," 12 Feb. 2018 Some offer cough drops, others break out the disinfectant. Chip Cutter, WSJ, "You Sneezed. Go Home.," 24 Jan. 2019 Reckitt Benckiser, the British maker of Lysol disinfectant and Durex condoms, bet big on baby food with its multibillion-dollar Mead Johnson deal in 2017. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Bite-Size Deals Leave Brands Hungry for Growth," 19 Feb. 2019 Disinfecting Spray There are cleaners and then there are disinfectants. NBC News, "The best spring cleaning products, according to the pros," 31 Mar. 2018 In that case, Dr. Smith suggests bringing disinfectant wipes to cleanse the surface first. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Wash Your Hands Immediately After Touching These 8 Things at the Airport," 30 Oct. 2018 So, the American people deserve to get to the bottom of this and the only way is -- sunshine is the best disinfectant. Fox News, "Hannity: Anonymous op-ed writer needs to come forward," 6 Sep. 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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Statistics for disinfectant

Last Updated

24 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disinfectant

The first known use of disinfectant was in 1837

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More Definitions for disinfectant



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 How to pronounce disinfectant (audio) \

Kids Definition of disinfectant

: something that kills germs


dis·​in·​fec·​tant | \ -ˈfek-tənt How to pronounce disinfectant (audio) \

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

Comments on disinfectant

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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