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antibiotic

[an-ti-bahy-ot-ik, -bee-, an-tee-, -tahy-]Biochemistry, Pharmacology
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noun
  1. any of a large group of chemical substances, as penicillin or streptomycin, produced by various microorganisms and fungi, having the capacity in dilute solutions to inhibit the growth of or to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms, used chiefly in the treatment of infectious diseases.
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adjective
  1. of or involving antibiotics.
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Origin of antibiotic

1855–60, for an earlier sense; anti- + biotic
Related formsan·ti·bi·ot·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for antibiotic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The books started with the specifications for antibiotic growth equipment for colonies with problems in local bacteria.

    Sand Doom

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • But the discovery of what substance should be added to what antibiotic was largely one of trial and error.

    Bolden's Pets

    F. L. Wallace


British Dictionary definitions for antibiotic

antibiotic

noun
  1. any of various chemical substances, such as penicillin, streptomycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline, produced by various microorganisms, esp fungi, or made synthetically and capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms, esp bacteria
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adjective
  1. of or relating to antibiotics
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for antibiotic

adj.

1894, "destructive to micro-organisms," from French antibiotique (c.1889), from anti- "against" (see anti-) + biotique "of (microbial) life," from Late Latin bioticus "of life" (see biotic). As a noun, first recorded 1941 in works of U.S. microbiologist Selman Waksman (1888-1973), discoverer of streptomycin. Earlier the adjective was used in a sense "not from living organisms" in debates over the origins of certain fossils.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

antibiotic in Medicine

antibiotic

(ăn′tĭ-bī-ŏtĭk, ăn′tī-)
n.
  1. A substance, such as penicillin or streptomycin, produced by or derived from certain fungi, bacteria, and other organisms, that can destroy or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms.
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adj.
  1. Of or relating to antibiotics.
  2. Of or relating to antibiosis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

antibiotic in Science

antibiotic

[ăn′tĭ-bī-ŏtĭk]
Noun
  1. A substance, such as penicillin, that is capable of destroying or weakening certain microorganisms, especially bacteria or fungi, that cause infections or infectious diseases. Antibiotics are usually produced by or synthesized from other microorganisms, such as molds. They inhibit pathogens by interfering with essential intracellular processes, including the synthesis of bacterial proteins. Antibiotics do not kill viruses and are not effective in treating viral infections.
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Adjective
  1. Relating to antibiotics.
  2. Relating to antibiosis.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

antibiotic in Culture

antibiotic

[(an-ti-beye-ot-ik, an-teye-beye-ot-ik, an-ti-bee-ot-ik)]

A substance that destroys or inhibits the growth of microorganisms and is therefore used to treat some infections. One of the most familiar antibiotics is penicillin.

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Note

Microorganisms that are initially treatable with antibiotics may evolve resistance as the more susceptible members of the population are killed off. (See resistance to antibiotics.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.