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
In Louisiana, workers recently entered the vacuum envelope, clad in sterile bunny suits, to patch up areas where light could scatter in the tubes, cutting down on noise at low frequencies.
Homeowners who enjoy the beauty and durability of barberry and burning bush shrubs will soon be able to plant the invasive shrubs without guilt because UConn horticulturists have created sterile, seedless versions.
Yet many of us look at the future and see the prospect of a sterile, lonely institutionalized existence looking back at us.
Medical experts said that the main potential problem with the older gastric bands was that the Food and Drug Administration guarantees only that the silicone bands are sterile for two years before installation.
Modernism is not always minimal or sterile, said Robinson.
Even the most sterile kind of recognition is recognition nonetheless.
A sense of depth on the sterile race course didn’t add enough to the experience.
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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