[ ster-il or, esp. British, -ahyl ]
/ ˈstɛr ɪl or, esp. British, -aɪl /
free from living germs or microorganisms; aseptic: sterile surgical instruments.
incapable of producing offspring; not producing offspring.
barren; not producing vegetation: sterile soil.
- noting a plant in which reproductive structures fail to develop.
- bearing no stamens or pistils.
not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless.
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Origin of sterile
First recorded in 1545–55, sterile is from the Latin word sterilis unfruitful
OTHER WORDS FROM sterile
ster·ile·ly, adverbste·ril·i·ty [stuh-ril-i-tee] /stəˈrɪl ɪ ti/, ster·ile·ness, nounan·ti·ste·ril·i·ty, adjectivehalf-ster·ile, adjective
non·ster·ile, adjectivenon·ster·ile·ly, adverbnon·ste·ril·i·ty, nounun·ster·ile, adjective
Words nearby sterile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for nonsterile
/ (ˈstɛraɪl) /
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
Derived forms of sterilesterilely, adverbsterility (stɛˈrɪlɪtɪ), noun
Word Origin for sterile
C16: from Latin sterilis
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
Medical definitions for nonsterile
[ stĕr′əl, -īl′ ]
Not producing or incapable of producing offspring.
Free from all live bacteria or other microorganisms and their spores.
Other words from sterilester′ile•ness null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Scientific definitions for nonsterile
[ stĕr′əl, stĕr′īl′ ]
Not able to produce offspring, seeds, or fruit; unable to reproduce.
Free from disease-causing microorganisms.
Other words from sterilesterility noun (stə-rĭl′ĭ-tē)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.