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 inactivation (audio) \ noun

Examples of inactivate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The shot contains inactivated (completely dead) or incomplete strains of the influenza virus, while the nasal spray contains live attenuated (weakened) strains. Korin Miller, SELF, "No, Flu Shot Side Effects Don’t Mean That the Vaccine Gave You the Flu," 20 Nov. 2018 But whereas key genes controlling eye development in naked mole rats have mutations that inactivate them, there are no such inactivating mutations in the genes of the Mexican cave fish. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "An evolutionary adaptation that doesn’t directly rely on new mutations," 1 June 2018 The process by which the viruses in the vaccine were supposed to be inactivated — killed — hadn’t worked. Helen Branswell, STAT, "The vaccine dilemma: How experts weigh benefits for many against risks for a few," 23 Apr. 2018 Scientists can inactivate a single gene in the pig to stop production of a protein the virus needs to survive, according to the companies. Marc Heller, Science | AAAS, "U.S. agencies clash over who should regulate genetically engineered livestock," 19 Apr. 2018 The reprogrammed stems cells must be inactivated with a blast of radiation before they can be used in the vaccine. Melissa Healy,, "In mice, a single vaccine prompts the immune system to fight breast, lung and skin cancers," 15 Feb. 2018 Hand sanitizers don’t inactivate as many germs as the soap-water combination does, according to the CDC. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "This Is How Long You Should Actually Be Washing Your Hands," 1 Apr. 2018 In the study about pigs, published in the journal Science, a team of researchers including the founders of the company eGenesis Inc., used Crispr to inactivate all 62 copies of porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs, in pig cells. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "What Gene-Altering for Pigs and Ants Might Mean for Humans," 10 Aug. 2017 Spiegel notes that while these reflective regions of the brain are activated, parts of the brain associated with taking action are inactivated. Nicole Audrey /, NBC News, "This Is Your Brain on Prayer and Meditation," 20 Oct. 2017

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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Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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The first known use of inactivate was in 1906

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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 inactivation (audio) \ noun
inactivator \ -​ˌvāt-​ər How to pronounce inactivator (audio) \ noun

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inactivate

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to move or proceed with twists and turns

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