See more synonyms for disinfect on Thesaurus.com

Origin of disinfect

1590–1600; < Middle French desinfecter, equivalent to des- dis-1 + infecter to infect
Related formsdis·in·fec·tion, noundis·in·fec·tive, adjectivedis·in·fec·tor, nounre·dis·in·fect, verb (used with object)un·dis·in·fect·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disinfect

Contemporary Examples of disinfect

  • The tub used in the birth was not approved for medical use and is difficult to disinfect.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Are Water Births Toxic to Babies?

    Brandy Zadrozny

    December 12, 2014

  • They informed her that a hazmat company would be coming through shortly to disinfect the area, both inside the building and out.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Dallas: A Journal of the Plague City

    Pete Freedman

    October 17, 2014

Historical Examples of disinfect

British Dictionary definitions for disinfect


  1. (tr) to rid of microorganisms potentially harmful to man, esp by chemical means
Derived Formsdisinfection, noundisinfector, noun
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 disinfect

1590s, perhaps from French désinfecter (16c.), or formed in English from dis- + infect. Related: Disinfected; disinfecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

disinfect in Medicine


  1. To cleanse something so as to destroy or prevent the growth of disease-carrying microorganisms.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.