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

Definition of sanitize

transitive verb

1 : to reduce or eliminate pathogenic agents (such as bacteria) on the surfaces of (something) : to make (something) sanitary (as by cleaning or disinfecting) You can use sponges and dishcloths safely if you take care to sanitize them, says Dean Cliver, a professor of food safety at the University of California, Davis.— Nick Gallo City Sanitarian Lauri Sorel said no soot was found and restaurants only had to sanitize food service surfaces with a mixture of bleach and water.The Springfield (Massachusetts) Union-News He had every store and delivery truck sanitized, and he set up a department to make unannounced health inspections of stores, vowing to temporarily shut down any slackers for cleanup.— Suzanne Hoppough
2 : to make (something, such as text) more acceptable by removing, hiding, or minimizing any unpleasant, undesirable, or unfavorable parts The memories—and memoirs—of former intelligence hands tend to be selective as well as sanitized, either by the author or by some form of official censorship or both, and the historian must be wary.— Ian Black and Benny Morris They were also forced to "sanitize" reports that might show early church leaders or the official doctrine in a dim light.— Robert Lindsey Once "friended" by a colleague, people feel compelled to employ privacy features—which itself can be a snub—or to sanitize their online profiles—which is akin to hiding something under the bed.— Jared Sandberg Published in Munich in 1987, the diaries are a major tool of that school of historians whose purpose is to relativize, normalize, sanitize the crimes of the Third Reich.— Peter Padfield And the movie sanitizes his behavior as well. (It manages to suggest that he's a philanderer without ever once showing him with another woman.)Entertainment Weekly … civilian casualties are referred to as "collateral damage"—a stunningly abstract and sanitized way to refer to mangled human bodies.— Carol E. Cohn

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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 Wear your mask, keep your distance, sanitize your hands, have your temperature checked. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "As infections ebb, Japan hopes it has cracked the covid code on coexisting with the virus," 19 Sep. 2020 With two-stage air purification, this smaller purifier can sanitize 99.97% of dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and household odors. Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored, "The best air purifiers to help you stay healthy," 16 Sep. 2020 Czapla said staff members will thoroughly sanitize the building, and conduct contact tracing by communicating with families with children who had contact with the staff member. Christine Dempsey,, "Somers Elementary School closes for two days after staff member tests positive for COVID-19," 9 Sep. 2020 The teachers also frequently sanitize the spaces students use during the school day, and the areas get a full scrub at the end of the day. Suzanne Baker,, "A behind-the-screens look at the remote start of the District 203 school year," 5 Sep. 2020 Carter BloodCare will continuously sanitize the donation area and staff will be wearing masks and gloves. Brayden Garcia, Dallas News, "Give blood in Arlington this Friday and get a free COVID-19 antibody test," 3 Sep. 2020 After practice, the players sanitize and wipe down each of the volleyballs. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Volleyball: Stratford Lady Spartans looks for senior class to lead them back to the playoffs," 1 Sep. 2020 The major networks, NPR, PBS, and the left-wing cable outlets such as CNN and MSNBC stick to the script; sanitize or ignore the fires, violence, and looting, and contextualize the rebellion as righteous, justified anger at the criminal police. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Silence About the Violence," 1 Sep. 2020 There are hand sanitizer stations around the store, and signs advising customers to keep a safe distance, sanitize, and wear masks. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "Krispy Kreme Is Opening A New Flagship Store In NYC, and It's a Place Where Doughnut Dreams Come True," 27 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sanitize

Time Traveler

The first known use of sanitize was in 1836

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Statistics for sanitize

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sanitize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sanitize

Nglish: Translation of sanitize for Spanish Speakers

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