disinfectant

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

Definition of disinfectant

: an agent used to disinfect something especially : a chemical agent that is used especially on hard surfaces and in water (such as drinking water or wastewater) to destroy, inactivate, or significantly reduce the concentration of pathogens (such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi)

Note: Common chemical disinfectants include chlorine, calcium and sodium hypochlorite, iodophor, phenol, ethanol, and quaternary ammonium compounds. Disinfectants are often distinguished from sterilants by having reduced effectiveness against dormant bacterial endospores.

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 Initial probes showed that levels of phenol, a substance often used as antiseptic or disinfectant, were 2.5 times higher than normal, and petroleum levels 3.6 times higher. Mary Ilyushina, CNN, "A suspected toxic spill in Russia's Far East has killed 95% of marine life on the seabed," 7 Oct. 2020 Southwest uses Sani-Cide EX3, a lactic acid cleaner and disinfectant made by Celeste Industries. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "To Battle Covid, Airlines Bet on Disinfectants That Come With Questions," 30 Sep. 2020 Bottles of hand sanitizer were handed out and the stadium was cleaned before and after using disinfectant and traditional cleaning methods. Griselda Flores, Billboard, "How Regional Mexican Acts Are Touring the Midwest Following a Hodgepodge of Safety Guidelines," 22 Sep. 2020 Above all, diners crave cleanliness, protective gear (masks, gloves, disinfectant), proper table distancing, disposable menus, patios. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Let’s Eat Safely, South Florida: Which Broward, Palm Beach restaurants do COVID-19 dining right?," 5 Sep. 2020 Officials agreed that every day each school will have a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment, including masks and disinfectant. Michelle Kaske, Bloomberg.com, "NYC School Reopening Delayed to Sept. 21 With Union Deal," 1 Sep. 2020 In Texas, evacuation buses are stocked with protective equipment and disinfectant, but state officials say they are required to carry fewer passengers in order to keep people apart. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Hurricane Laura Could Devastate COVID-19-Ridden States — Here’s How To Prepare," 26 Aug. 2020 Outfitted with their tracking devices, masks and fluorescent disinfectant, concertgoers were asked to simulate different concert scenarios: one with no social distancing, another with moderate safety measures and a third with strict ones. Thomas Rogers, Star Tribune, "Test rock concert tracks the spread of germs," 26 Aug. 2020 Bring cleaning supplies, including disinfectant and paper towels, and a thermometer. Washington Post, "How covid-19-related travel restrictions are complicating the once-simple road trip," 14 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for disinfectant

Time Traveler

The first known use of disinfectant was in 1837

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Statistics for disinfectant

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disinfectant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinfectant. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for disinfectant

disinfectant

noun
How to pronounce disinfectant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disinfectant

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

disinfectant

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

Kids Definition of disinfectant

: something that kills germs

disinfectant

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

Medical Definition of disinfectant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an agent (as a chemical or ultraviolet light) that destroys, inactivates, or significantly reduces the concentration of pathogens (as bacteria, viruses, and fungi) especially on hard surfaces and in water (as drinking water or wastewater) also : a preparation or formulation containing one or more disinfectants along with additional additives (as water and fragrance)

Note: Common chemical disinfectants include chlorine, calcium and sodium hypochlorite, iodophor, phenol, ethanol, and quaternary ammonium compounds. Disinfectants are often distinguished from sterilants by having reduced effectiveness against dormant bacterial endospores.

disinfectant

adjective

Medical Definition of disinfectant (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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