in·​ac·​ti·​vate | \ (ˌ)i-ˈnak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce inactivate (audio) \
inactivated; inactivating; inactivates

Definition of inactivate

transitive verb

: to make inactive chemicals to inactivate viruses

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Other Words from inactivate

inactivation \ (ˌ)i-​ˌnak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce inactivate (audio) \ noun

Examples of inactivate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But generating these therapies—especially direct-acting, orally administered drugs that inactivate viruses—is time-consuming. Charles Schmidt, Scientific American, 15 July 2021 Original tests showed the spray coating could inactivate the COVID-19 virus for up to seven days. Grace Lieberman, Dallas News, 9 July 2021 Apply a heat pack or rinse the affected area with hot water to inactivate the venom., 7 July 2021 Rinsing off in the shower for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt or anything else on your body that uses up chlorine or bromine needed to kill or inactivate germs. Rachel Trent, CNN, 3 July 2021 Originally used in home restoration and mold remediation, the devices have become popular in New Jersey schools as the company says its products can inactivate Covid. Lauren Weber And Christina Jewett, CNN, 3 May 2021 While attention in recent years has focused on voters who moved, the commission this summer will inactivate the registrations of another group — those who have not voted for years. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 Mar. 2021 Even cleaning surfaces with soap and water can inactivate the virus, the agency said. NBC News, 10 Dec. 2020 To inactivate the virus, researchers disable the genetic components that are normally responsible for making the virus replicate inside a body. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, 5 Dec. 2020

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

1906, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for inactivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of inactivate was in 1906

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Last Updated

25 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inactivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for inactivate


transitive verb
in·​ac·​ti·​vate | \ (ˈ)in-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce inactivate (audio) \
inactivated; inactivating

Medical Definition of inactivate

: to make inactive: as
a : to destroy certain biological activities of inactivate the complement of normal serum by heat
b : to cause (as an infectious agent) to lose disease-producing capacity inactivate bacteria

Other Words from inactivate

inactivation \ (ˌ)in-​ˌak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce inactivate (audio) \ noun
inactivator \ -​ˌvāt-​ər How to pronounce inactivate (audio) \ noun


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