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See more synonyms for disinfect on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to cleanse (rooms, wounds, clothing, etc.) of infection; destroy disease germs in.
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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. 2018

Related Words for disinfect

sterilize, decontaminate, cleanse, sanitize, purify, fumigate, deodorize, antisepticize

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Contemporary Examples of disinfect

Historical Examples of disinfect

British Dictionary definitions for disinfect


  1. (tr) to rid of microorganisms potentially harmful to man, esp by chemical means
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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.

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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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.