- free from living germs or microorganisms; aseptic: sterile surgical instruments.
- incapable of producing offspring; not producing offspring.
- barren; not producing vegetation: sterile soil.
- noting a plant in which reproductive structures fail to develop.
- bearing no stamens or pistils.
- not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless.
Origin of sterile
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- unable to produce offspring; infertile
- free from living, esp pathogenic, microorganisms; aseptic
- (of plants or their parts) not producing or bearing seeds, fruit, spores, stamens, or pistils
- lacking inspiration or vitality; fruitless
- economics, US (of gold) not being used to support credit creation or an increased money supply
Word Origin and History for non-sterile
early 15c., "barren" (implied in sterility), from Middle French stérile "not producing fruit," from Latin sterilis "barren, unproductive," from PIE *ster- "sterile, barren" originally "stiff, rigid" (cf. Greek steresthai "be deprived of," steira "sterile," stereos "firm, solid, stiff, hard;" Sanskrit starih "a barren cow;" Old Church Slavonic sterica "a barren cow;" Gothic stairo "barren;" Old Norse stirtla "a barren cow"). See torpor. Originally in English with reference to soil; of females, from 1530s. The sense of "sterilized" is first recorded 1877.
- Not producing or incapable of producing offspring.
- Free from all live bacteria or other microorganisms and their spores.
- Not able to produce offspring, seeds, or fruit; unable to reproduce.
- Free from disease-causing microorganisms.