san·​i·​tize | \ˈsa-nə-ˌtīz \
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 \ 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

Microsoft’s Bing search engine still sanitizes Chinese language search results, nearly a decade after The New York Times first reported on it. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "China is making the internet less free, and US tech companies are helping," 2 Nov. 2018 First, to create the lactic acid sourness, Spangalang boils the wort (unfermented liquid with sugars from the barley) for just 10 minutes to sanitize it. Matt Allyn, Popular Mechanics, "How The Perfect Pickle Beer Is Made," 18 Oct. 2016 Instead, Letts boils it down to the bare-bones, sanitized version that separating parents tend to give their children. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mary Page Marlowe': Theater Review," 13 July 2018 Employee washed cleaver and cutting board without sanitizing. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Restaurant inspections: Chinese restaurant tops list with 12 violations for the week," 30 May 2018 Kitty’s has been ordered to clean and sanitize its facility. Sophia Eppolito,, "North Reading restaurant closes after salmonella outbreak sickens up to 39 people," 10 July 2018 But content to be yet another great-man biopic, the movie would rather sanitize than probe. Edouard Deluc, New York Times, "Review: ‘Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti’ Doesn’t Make Much of a (Post-) Impression," 10 July 2018 The facts behind Thanksgiving, chattel slavery, the civil war, internment camps, mass incarceration, and even the national anthem are all sanitized for over-the-counter consumption, available in chewable vitamin form at a drugstore near you. Vic Mensa, Teen Vogue, "Vic Mensa: Don't Ask Me to Love America When It Doesn't Love Me," 4 July 2018 Do not use equipment/utensils not properly sanitized. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Roaches in oven, sewage on floor, flies in the fries. These restaurants are in trouble," 21 June 2018

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

23 Nov 2018

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

: 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 \
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 \ noun

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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 make faulty or ineffective

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