ster·​il·​i·​za·​tion ˌster-ə-lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce sterilization (audio)
plural sterilizations
: the act or process of sterilizing: such as
: the rendering of something free from viable microorganisms (as by the use of steam or dry heat)
The hospital's standard method for cleaning surgical equipment is a five-step process that includes ultrasound, washing with detergents and enzymes, and sterilization in an autoclave.Kay Lazar and Chelsea Conaboy
Ethylene oxide … is a gas used widely to sterilize surgical equipment that can't tolerate steam sterilization.Science News
: a procedure by which a living organism is made incapable of reproduction
While I'm sure the pets aren't too keen on the procedure, sterilization avoids unwanted animals …, prevents some health problems in older pets, and helps to prevent aggressive behavior that some owners might use as a reason for euthanasia or abuse.Jil McIntosh
The sterile insect technique … is a species-specific and environmentally nonpolluting method of insect control that relies on the mass rearing, sterilization, and release of large numbers of insects.Dean D. Thomas et al.
According to the 1995 Canadian Contraception Study, vasectomy has overtaken tubal ligation in every province except the Maritimes as the preferred method of sterilization.Michael Jabri-Picket
Under the law upheld by the Supreme Court in 1927, the state of Virginia continued to perform forced, involuntary sterilizations until 1972.Laurence H. Tribe
: the condition of one that is sterile or sterilized
Once used as an antimalarial drug in World War II, quinacrine is known to cause irreversible sterilizationPraful Bidwai

Examples of sterilization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to Anafi, 31 states, plus Washington, D.C., still legally permit the coercive sterilization of people with certain kinds of disabilities. Eric Boodman, STAT, 6 June 2024 Coercive sterilization is often talked about as an ugly part of America’s past, firmly in the realm of history. Eric Boodman, STAT, 21 May 2024 State and federal inspection records show at least 16 Colorado hospitals have been cited for improper sterilization since 2019. Meg Wingerter, The Denver Post, 19 May 2024 Today these sterilizations continue, primarily affecting people with disabilities and individuals under guardianship. For The Carroll County Times, Baltimore Sun, 12 May 2024 For the first time in 50 years, the EPA released new rules for commercial sterilization that uses EtO, aiming to reduce emission by more than 90%. Laura Coburn, ABC News, 3 Apr. 2024 But a New York Times and Fuller Project investigation has found that these brands have also profited from a brutal system of labor that exploits children and leads to the unnecessary sterilization of working-age women. Qadri Inzamam Saumya Khandelwal, New York Times, 24 Mar. 2024 Infection prevention measures include rigorous cleaning schedules and sterilization of spaces and equipment that are used for patient care. Kayla Hui, Verywell Health, 10 Mar. 2024 The state conducted nearly 2,000 sterilizations, the 11th highest in the country. Journal Sentinel, 29 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sterilization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sterilization was in 1826

Dictionary Entries Near sterilization

Cite this Entry

“Sterilization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

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