• synonyms


verb (used with object), cau·ter·ized, cau·ter·iz·ing.
  1. to burn with a hot iron, electric current, fire, or a caustic, especially for curative purposes; treat with a cautery.
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Also especially British, cau·ter·ise.

Origin of cauterize

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin cautērizāre to brand, equivalent to cautēr- (< Greek kautḗr branding iron, equivalent to kau-, variant stem of kaíein to burn (cf. caustic), + -tēr agent suffix) + -izāre -ize
Related formscau·ter·i·za·tion, nounun·cau·ter·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cauterization

Historical Examples of cauterization

  • Should relief not follow its use, cauterization is to be tried.

    A System of Practical Medicine By American Authors, Vol. II


  • Iron and fire were in the code: the law practised the cauterization of vagrancy.

  • A thread from the stole of the ancient saint was said to have had the power to cure hydrophobia, if aided by cauterization.

    The Spell of Belgium

    Isabel Anderson

  • For fall of the uvula he suggests gargles, but when these fail he advises resection and cauterization.

  • As the gangrene extends, the cauterization is to be repeated twice daily or even more frequently.

British Dictionary definitions for cauterization



  1. (tr) (esp in the treatment of a wound) to burn or sear (body tissue) with a hot iron or caustic agent
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Derived Formscauterization or cauterisation, noun

Word Origin for cauterize

C14: from Old French cauteriser, from Late Latin cautērizāre, from cautērium branding iron, from Greek kautērion, from kaiein to burn
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 cauterization


c.1400, from Old French cauterisation (14c.) and directly from Late Latin cauterizationem (nominative cauterizatio), noun of action from past participle stem of cauterizare (see cauterize).

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c.1400, from Old French cauterisier, from Late Latin cauterizare "to burn or brand with a hot iron," from Greek kauteriazein, from kauter "burning or branding iron," from kaiein "to burn" (see caustic). Related: Cauterized; cauterizing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cauterization in Medicine


  1. To burn or sear with a cautery.
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Related formscau′ter•i•zation (-tər-ĭ-zāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cauterization in Science


  1. To burn or sear with a cautery, as in surgical procedures.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.