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

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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

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 Washing hands, sanitizing everything, using disposable brushes and sterilizing our tweezers are a must. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Will Eyelash Extensions Ruin Your Natural Lashes? We Investigate," 31 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.

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First Known Use of sanitize

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sanitize

Latin sanitas

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Statistics for sanitize

Last Updated

28 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sanitize

The first known use of sanitize was in 1836

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More Definitions for sanitize



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


transitive verb
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

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