sterilize

verb
ster·​il·​ize | \ ˈster-ə-ˌlīz How to pronounce sterilize (audio) \
sterilized; sterilizing

Definition of sterilize

transitive verb

: to make (something or someone) sterile: such as
a : to free from all viable microorganisms (as by the use of steam or dry heat) sterilize surgical instruments in an autoclave
b(1) : to deprive of the power of reproducing through surgery sterilize cats and dogs
(2) : to make incapable of germination studied the effects of sterilizing wheat florets
c : to cause (land) to become unfruitful There, 1,100-degree pyroclastic flows had sterilized the land.— Christine Colasurdo

Examples of sterilize in a Sentence

The organization encourages people to sterilize their cats and dogs.
Recent Examples on the Web Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Chris Mckeown, The Enquirer, 4 Dec. 2021 The case involves a lawsuit against the Colombian government over whether to kill or sterilize the hippos whose numbers are growing at a fast pace and pose a threat to biodiversity. Fox News, 26 Oct. 2021 The case involves a lawsuit against the Colombian government over whether to kill or sterilize the hippos whose numbers are growing at a fast pace and pose a threat to biodiversity. CBS News, 26 Oct. 2021 The case involves a lawsuit against the Colombian government over whether to kill or sterilize the hippos whose numbers are growing at a fast pace and pose a threat to biodiversity. NBC News, 25 Oct. 2021 An Augusta company that uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical instruments is being sued by residents. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 3 Dec. 2021 During polio vaccination campaigns in Nigeria in the 1990s and early 2000s, many communities resisted because of rumors the vaccine was actually a disguised attempt to sterilize people to reduce the population. Maggie Fox, CNN, 1 Nov. 2021 Another false theory around Gates is that the pandemic was his plan to depopulate the world and that vaccinations are a way to sterilize the population, a radical leap from Gates' efforts to raise awareness about overpopulation and climate change. Michelle Shen, USA TODAY, 4 Nov. 2021 Other industrial facilities include oil refineries and companies that sterilize medical equipment. Maya Miller, ProPublica, 2 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sterilize.' 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 sterilize

1676, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of sterilize was in 1676

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Dictionary Entries Near sterilize

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Statistics for sterilize

Last Updated

4 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sterilize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sterilize. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for sterilize

sterilize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sterilize

: to clean (something) by destroying germs or bacteria
: to make (someone or something) unable to produce children, young animals, etc.

sterilize

verb
ster·​il·​ize | \ ˈster-ə-ˌlīz How to pronounce sterilize (audio) \
sterilized; sterilizing

Kids Definition of sterilize

: to make sterile and especially free from germs

sterilize

transitive verb
ster·​il·​ize
variants: also British sterilise \ ˈster-​ə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce sterilize (audio) \
sterilized also British sterilised; sterilizing also British sterilising

Medical Definition of sterilize

: to make sterile:
a : to deprive of the power of reproducing
b : to free from living microorganisms (as by the use of physical or chemical agents) sterilize a surgical instrument

Other Words from sterilize

sterilization \ ˌster-​ə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce sterilize (audio) \ also British sterilisation \ -​ˌlī-​ˈ How to pronounce sterilize (audio) \ noun

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