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 Militants and radical religious groups spread claims that the polio vaccine is a Western ploy to sterilize Muslim children or turn them away from religion. Author: Kathy Gannon, Andrew Meldrum And Lee Keath, Anchorage Daily News, "Wars, instability pose vaccine challenges in poor nations," 28 Dec. 2020 Militants and radical religious groups spread claims that the polio vaccine is a Western ploy to sterilize Muslim children or turn them away from religion. Fox News, "Wars, instability pose coronavirus vaccine challenges in poor nations," 28 Dec. 2020 Jin was given a bucket and a supply of disinfectant to sterilize his toilet before flushing it. Viviane Callier, Science, "Shorter quarantines could actually help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks," 17 Dec. 2020 Technicians sterilize the samples and prepare them for cell growth by adding a proprietary nutrient solution. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clone Your Dog," 21 Dec. 2020 Eugenics was used as a justification for Hitler’s Nazi Germany to kill 6 million Jewish people, and for U.S. authorities to forcibly sterilize more than 60,000 people in California and more than 30 other states largely in the early 20th century. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: A confirmed conservative court," 27 Oct. 2020 Scientists are trying to come up with a way to sterilize them with chemicals. Los Angeles Times, "Texas tackles wild hogs with high-stakes hunts," 27 Nov. 2020 Just like at home, the bags are removed when the batches are done, cutting down on the time needed to clean and sterilize the bioreactors. Katie Thomas, New York Times, "The Vaccines Will Probably Work. Making Them Fast Will Be the Hard Part.," 17 Nov. 2020 Just like at home, the bags are removed when the batches are done, cutting down on the time needed to clean and sterilize the bioreactors. Katie Thomas New York Times, Star Tribune, "Vaccines will probably work. Making them fast will be hard part.," 17 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sterilize

Time Traveler

The first known use of sterilize was in 1676

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Statistics for sterilize

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sterilize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sterilize. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sterilize

sterilize

verb
How to pronounce sterilize (audio)

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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