Definition of sterile
1a : failing to bear or incapable of producing fruit or sporesb : failing to produce or incapable of producing offspring a sterile hybridc : incapable of germinating sterile sporesd of a flower : neither perfect nor pistillate
2a : unproductive of vegetation a sterile arid regionb : free from living organisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms a sterile syringec : lacking in stimulating emotional or intellectual quality : lifeless a sterile work of art
sterilelyplay \-ə(l)-lē\ adverb
sterilityplay \stə-ˈri-lə-tē\ noun
Examples of sterile in a Sentence
a sterile dressing for a wound
sterile couples sometimes choose to adopt needy children
Recent Examples of sterile from the Web
While at the fast food chain, Theno adopted a food-handling program developed by NASA in the 1960s to ensure sterile food for astronauts.
The medicine, sterile talc powder, is used to treat malignant pleural effusion, a disease affecting about 150,000 Americans that involves excessive fluid buildup around the lungs and can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
Germaphobia is rank in the sterile, continuously vacuumed environments of corporate America.
But most tests rely on antibodies that bind fungal proteins or reading nucleic acids to identify fungi by their genes, thus requiring sterile labs and refrigerated reagents that doctors and farmers in developing countries often don’t have access to.
No waiting period is required if the tattoo was applied in a state that requires tattoo shops to use sterile needles and single-use ink.
What Melissa didn't know, is that police had gotten an anonymous tip that Scott was sterile.
Plastic barriers divide the areas, and the entire process is sterile: The insect handlers usually wear gloves and sometimes even clean suits.
Meanwhile, sterile paper and ink filled my grownup work days.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sterile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of sterile
Middle English steryle, from Latin sterilis; akin to Goth stairo barren animal, Sanskrit starī sterile cow
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
STERILE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sterile for English Language Learners
: not able to produce crops or plants
: not able to produce children, young animals, etc.
: not able to grow or develop
STERILE Defined for Kids
Definition of sterile for Students
1 : not able to produce fruit, crops, or offspring : not fertile sterile soil
2 : free from living germs a sterile bandage
Medical Definition of sterile
1: failing to produce or incapable of producing offspring a sterile hybrid—compare infertile
2: free from living organisms and especially microorganisms a sterile syringe a sterile cyst
sterility\stə-ˈril-ət-ē\play noun plural
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