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

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 The potentially life-threatening disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, which may have festered in the city’s pipes after the improper treatment interfered with disinfectants and released bacterial nutrients into the tap water. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Doc charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis wins top health award," 12 Oct. 2018 The disinfectant Oxipol also reportedly increased the risk of infection, but that product has been discontinued. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "A Rare Eye Infection Is Spreading Among Contact Lens Wearers in the U.K.," 21 Sep. 2018 Include food, treats, bowls, toys, a leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and disinfectant. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Take your dog to work? These 'employees' wag their tails," 21 June 2018 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

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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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for disinfectant

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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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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