hy·​giene | \ ˈhī-ˌjēn How to pronounce hygiene (audio) also hī-ˈjēn \

Definition of hygiene

1 : a science of the establishment and maintenance of health
2 : conditions or practices (as of cleanliness) conducive to health has poor personal hygiene Brushing your teeth regularly is an important part of good oral hygiene.

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Other Words from hygiene

hygienist \ hī-​ˈjē-​nist How to pronounce hygiene (audio) , ˈhī-​ˌjē-​ , hī-​ˈje-​ How to pronounce hygiene (audio) \ noun

Examples of hygiene in a Sentence

Poor sanitation and hygiene caused many of the soldiers to get sick. He has very poor personal hygiene. Brushing your teeth regularly is an important part of good dental hygiene.
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Recent Examples on the Web But a year into the pandemic, researchers still aren't sure when some COVID-19 survivors may get their senses back – if ever – and many are struggling with the long-term safety, hygiene and psychiatric implications of the loss. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "Millions of COVID-19 survivors have lost the sense of smell and taste. Will they come back? Not even researchers know.," 31 Jan. 2021 In fact, experts warn, the changes in hygiene and other practices caused by the Covid-19 fight are likely to have contributed to the spread of these drug-resistant germs. New York Times, "With All Eyes on Covid-19, Drug-Resistant Infections Crept In," 27 Jan. 2021 Wipes, roll-ons, and water-free powders have all become increasingly popular in a year where lots of people have pared back their typical hygiene and self-care routines in favor of just making it through the day. Ali Francis, SELF, "This Body-Care Brand Wants to Destress Your Hygiene Routine," 27 Jan. 2021 During the pandemic, Wayne Metro has been distributing food and other essentials, like hygiene and cleaning products, in Highland Park, Taylor and Dearborn Heights, serving between 400 and 600 people each week. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "GM engineers build heated tents to make food distribution easier," 23 Jan. 2021 National Corps members repaired crumbling orphanages, sewed face masks, and plastered walls with advice on hygiene and social distancing—making a show of performing basic services the Ukrainian state was failing to provide. Aris Roussinos, Harpers Magazine, "The Armies of the Right," 5 Jan. 2021 That means masking, personal hygiene and (especially) social distancing currently remain the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19. Andrew Canulette, NOLA.com, "Despite the polarizing disputes over COVID-19, there's no doubt it's the Story of the Year," 29 Dec. 2020 The organizations helped supply the meals for the families and the hygiene and protective supplies were donated by shopping center operator, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Corporation. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hundreds of neighbors in southeastern San Diego receive holiday meals, PPE supplies," 23 Dec. 2020 Hand hygiene is one key way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, as well as other other pathogens. Naomi Thomas And Katie Hunt, CNN, "More people are remembering to wash their hands, research finds," 8 Oct. 2020

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

1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hygiene

French hygiène & New Latin hygieina, from Greek, neuter plural of hygieinos healthful, from hygiēs healthy; akin to Sanskrit su well and to Latin vivus living — more at quick entry 1

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Time Traveler for hygiene

Time Traveler

The first known use of hygiene was in 1671

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Statistics for hygiene

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hygiene.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hygiene. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hygiene



English Language Learners Definition of hygiene

: the things that you do to keep yourself and your surroundings clean in order to maintain good health


hy·​giene | \ ˈhī-ˌjēn How to pronounce hygiene (audio) \

Kids Definition of hygiene

1 : a science that deals with the bringing about and keeping up of good health
2 : conditions or practices (as of cleanliness) necessary for health He has good personal hygiene.


hy·​giene | \ ˈhī-ˌjēn also hī-ˈ \

Medical Definition of hygiene

1 : a science of the establishment and maintenance of health — see industrial hygiene, mental hygiene
2 : conditions or practices (as of cleanliness) conducive to health

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Comments on hygiene

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