[ dis-in-fek-tuh nt ]
/ ˌdɪs ɪnˈfɛk tənt /


any chemical agent used chiefly on inanimate objects to destroy or inhibit the growth of harmful organisms.


serving as a disinfectant.

Nearby words

  1. disinclination,
  2. disincline,
  3. disinclined,
  4. disincorporate,
  5. disinfect,
  6. disinfest,
  7. disinfestant,
  8. disinflate,
  9. disinflation,
  10. disinform

Origin of disinfectant

1830–40; < French désinfectant, noun use of present participle of désinfecter, Middle French. See disinfect, -ant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disinfectant

British Dictionary definitions for disinfectant


/ (ˌdɪsɪnˈfɛktənt) /


an agent that destroys or inhibits the activity of microorganisms that cause disease
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 disinfectant



1837, from French désinfectant (1816), noun use of present participle of désinfecter (see disinfect). From 1875 as an adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for disinfectant


[ dĭs′ĭn-fĕktənt ]


An agent, such as heat, radiation, or a chemical, that disinfects by destroying, neutralizing, or inhibiting the growth of disease-carrying microorganisms.


Serving to disinfect.

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