free from living germs or microorganisms; aseptic: Successful operations rely on timely delivery of the sterile surgical instruments needed for each procedure.
incapable of producing offspring; not producing offspring.
barren; not producing vegetation: Attempts to cultivate the land have failed because of the sterile soil.
noting a plant in which reproductive structures fail to develop.
bearing no stamens or pistils.
not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless.
lacking vitality, vibrancy, interest, etc.: Art can transform an otherwise sterile office into a happy, inspiring, and comforting space.
- ster·ile·ly, adverb
- ste·ril·i·ty [stuh-ril-i-tee], /stəˈrɪl ɪ ti/, ster·ile·ness, noun
- half-ster·ile, adjective
- non·ster·ile, adjective
- non·ster·ile·ly, adverb
- un·ster·ile, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for sterile
unable to produce offspring; infertile
free from living, esp pathogenic, microorganisms; aseptic
(of plants or their parts) not producing or bearing seeds, fruit, spores, stamens, or pistils
lacking inspiration or vitality; fruitless
economics, US (of gold) not being used to support credit creation or an increased money supply
- sterilely, adverb
- sterility (stɛˈrɪlɪtɪ), 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
Scientific definitions for sterile
Not able to produce offspring, seeds, or fruit; unable to reproduce.
Free from disease-causing microorganisms.
- sterility noun (stə-rĭl′ĭ-tē)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.