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See more synonyms for septic on Thesaurus.com
adjective Pathology.
  1. pertaining to or of the nature of sepsis; infected.
  2. putrefactive.
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Origin of septic

1595–1605; < Latin sēpticus < Greek sēptikós, equivalent to sēpt(ós) rotted + -ikos -ic
Related formssep·ti·cal·ly, adverbsep·tic·i·ty [sep-tis-i-tee] /sɛpˈtɪs ɪ ti/, nounnon·sep·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for septic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Syphons, for automatic discharge, 225;for septic tanks, 229.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • One is for septic pneumonia, the other for the removal of the lungs.

    Aladdin of London

    Sir Max Pemberton

  • The blood he had received was without doubt not only splenic but also septic.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

  • It will be found full of septic vibrios in process of generation by fission.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

  • It is thus that a dust of septic germs can be formed even in contact with air.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

British Dictionary definitions for septic


  1. of, relating to, or caused by sepsis
  2. of, relating to, or caused by putrefaction
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  1. Australian and NZ informal short for septic tank
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Derived Formsseptically, adverbsepticity (sɛpˈtɪsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin sēpticus, from Greek sēptikos, from sēptos decayed, from sēpein to make rotten
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 septic


c.1600, from Latin septicus "of or pertaining to putrefaction," from Greek septikos "characterized by putrefaction," from sepein "make rotten or putrid, cause to rot" (see sepsis). Septic tank is attested from 1902.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

septic in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, having the nature of, or affected by sepsis.
  2. Causing or producing sepsis; putrefactive.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

septic in Science


  1. A severe infection caused by pathogenic organisms, especially bacteria, in the blood or tissues. If untreated, a localized infection, as in the respiratory or urinary tracts, can lead to infection in the bloodstream and widespread inflammation, characterized initially by fever, chills, and other symptoms and later by septic shock.
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Related formsseptic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.