- to destroy microorganisms in or on, usually by bringing to a high temperature with steam, dry heat, or boiling liquid.
- to destroy the ability of (a person or animal) to reproduce by removing the sex organs or inhibiting their functions.
- to make (land) barren or unproductive.
- Informal. to delete or remove anything comprising or damaging from: to sterilize a government document before releasing it to the press.
- Informal. to isolate or completely protect from unwanted, unauthorized, or unwholesome activities, attitudes, influences, etc.: You can't sterilize children against violence.
Also especially British, ster·i·lise.
Origin of sterilize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sterilizer
After this they are taken out of the sterilizer, and are ready for distribution.
The nurse gathered up the last of the instruments and threw them in the sterilizer.Leerie
The jars should be immediately placed in the sterilizer after being packed.Every Step in Canning
Grace Viall Gray
Steam rose in increased mists as one figure lifted back the lid of a sterilizer and dropped in some gleaming instruments.The Affair of the Brains
Consult time table and at the end of the required sterilizing period remove the jars from the sterilizer.A Little Preserving Book for a Little Girl
- a person, substance, or device that sterilizes
- (tr) to render sterile; make infertile or barren
Word Origin and History for sterilizer
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- An apparatus for rendering objects aseptic.
- To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
- To deprive a person or animal of the ability to produce offspring, as by removing the reproductive organs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.