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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 disinfection

distillation, sterilization, washing, sanitation, purification, freshness, purity, cleanliness, hygiene, regeneration, purgation, absolution, atonement, forgiveness, grace, rebirth, redemption, refinement, ablution, purge

Examples from the Web for disinfection

Historical Examples of disinfection

  • This is a very important fact in the disinfection of the air.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 417


  • Therefore, with the body, chemical means for disinfection must be employed.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • This, in the most general sense, is what is meant by disinfection.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • Disinfection was first ordained by Gian Visconti, in Milan, in 1399.

  • After disinfection, the hands should be washed in plain water and soap.

British Dictionary definitions for disinfection


  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 disinfection



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

disinfection 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.