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See more synonyms for cauterize on Thesaurus.com
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

Related Words for cauterize

sear, burn, singe

Examples from the Web for cauterize

Historical Examples of cauterize

  • He can take nothing away, but only cauterize and neutralize, he says, so why not let him try?

    Death of a Spaceman

    Walter M. Miller

  • I had no caustic with me, so I determined to cauterize it with boiling grease.

  • Besides this, they also bleed the patient and cauterize the wound.

  • Well, I offered to cauterize it with the poker in the office stove.

  • Take care, he says, not to cauterize the nerves in the neighborhood, for this will add a new ailment to the patient's affection.

British Dictionary definitions for cauterize



  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 cauterize


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

cauterize 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.

cauterize 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.