- to destroy microorganisms in or on, usually by bringing to a high temperature with steam, dry heat, or boiling liquid.
- to destroy the ability of (a person or animal) to reproduce by removing the sex organs or inhibiting their functions.
- to make (land) barren or unproductive.
- Informal. to delete or remove anything comprising or damaging from: to sterilize a government document before releasing it to the press.
- Informal. to isolate or completely protect from unwanted, unauthorized, or unwholesome activities, attitudes, influences, etc.: You can't sterilize children against violence.
Also especially British, ster·i·lise.
Origin of sterilize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (tr) to render sterile; make infertile or barren
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
- To deprive a person or animal of the ability to produce offspring, as by removing the reproductive organs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.