san·​i·​tize | \ ˈsa-nə-ˌtīz How to pronounce sanitize (audio) \
sanitized; sanitizing

Definition of sanitize

transitive verb

1 : to make sanitary (as by cleaning or sterilizing)
2 : to make more acceptable by removing unpleasant or undesired features attempts to sanitize historical accounts

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sanitize

sanitization \ ˌsa-​nə-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce sanitization (audio) \ noun

Examples of sanitize in a Sentence

The housekeeping staff sanitized the bathroom. They're trying to sanitize the news.
Recent Examples on the Web Using IVs that are sanitized between trees, park service workers make a minimally invasive scission in order to treat the tree, according to Jason Gillis, park arborist for National Mall and Memorial Parks. Paulina Smolinski, USA TODAY, "Here's how the National Park Service is saving D.C.'s trees from Dutch elm disease," 19 Aug. 2019 The organization collects new and gently-used shoes, cleans and sanitizes them, and gives them to adults and children in need. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Longtime CdM coach Bill Sumner accepts Pat Summitt Leadership Group award," 9 Aug. 2019 Otherworldly, yes, but rooted to this city—a place mercifully not yet sanitized of the good bits. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Blacked-Out Teeth and Liza Minnelli Wigs? Off-Kilter Downtown Beauty Takes New York Fashion Week," 10 Sep. 2019 Race is a topic that’s simultaneously sanitized and amplified in the country’s everyday discourse. Aretha Phiri, Quartz Africa, "How Toni Morrison’s legacy plays out in South Africa’s universities," 14 Aug. 2019 Hilton employees collect hotel guests’ old soap, then sanitize and recycle it into bars for needy communities, while diverting over 1.5 million pounds of the substance from landfills. Hanna Flanagan,, "Holiday Inn Will Stop Stocking Travel-Size Toiletries in Favor of Bulk-Size Bathroom Amenities," 31 July 2019 Confronted with the growing power of Stalin’s U.S.S.R., the U.S. Government sanitized von Braun and other German scientists’ images in order to use their skills; to a large extent, the American public went along with it. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "How Historians Are Reckoning With the Former Nazi Who Launched America's Space Program," 18 July 2019 An antibacterial and antimicrobial chemical, triclosan can be found in sanitizing hand and body soaps, mascara, and formerly in toothpaste. Olivia Fleming & Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Ultimate Guide to Clean Beauty," 12 Aug. 2019 Employee used cutting board and knife for frozen fish after it was used to process slaughtered fish without sanitizing items between tasks. Ebony Day, azcentral, "Fish tank with algae among violations found in Phoenix-area restaurant inspections," 24 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sanitize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sanitize

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sanitize

Latin sanitas

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sanitize

Statistics for sanitize

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for sanitize

The first known use of sanitize was in 1836

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sanitize


How to pronounce sanitize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sanitize

: to make (something) free from dirt, infection, disease, etc., by cleaning it : to make (something) sanitary
often disapproving : to make (something) more pleasant and acceptable by taking things that are unpleasant or offensive out of it
variants: also British sanitise \ ˈsan-​ə-​ˌtīz How to pronounce sanitise (audio) \
sanitized also British sanitised; sanitizing also British sanitising

Medical Definition of sanitize

: to make sanitary (as by cleaning or sterilizing) sanitize all surfaces with a solution of bleach and water

Other Words from sanitize

sanitization also British sanitisation \ ˌsan-​ət-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce sanitisation (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sanitize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sanitize

Spanish Central: Translation of sanitize

Nglish: Translation of sanitize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on sanitize

What made you want to look up sanitize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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