dis·​in·​fec·​tion ˌdis-in-ˈfek-shən How to pronounce disinfection (audio)
plural disinfections
: the act of disinfecting something
especially : the process of using a disinfectant to destroy, inactivate, or significantly reduce the concentration of pathogenic agents (such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi)
Both viruses are susceptible to disinfection by a weak solution of chlorine bleach. Margaret Reister
… a virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreads beyond hospital walls, some communities are taking extreme measures such as closing schools for disinfection. Laura Landro

Word History

First Known Use

1722, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disinfection was in 1722

Dictionary Entries Near disinfection

Cite this Entry

“Disinfection.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinfection. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on disinfection

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.