sterile

[ ster-il or, especially British, -ahyl ]
/ ˈstɛr ɪl or, especially British, -aɪl /

adjective

free from living germs or microorganisms; aseptic: sterile surgical instruments.
incapable of producing offspring; not producing offspring.
barren; not producing vegetation: sterile soil.
Botany.
  1. noting a plant in which reproductive structures fail to develop.
  2. bearing no stamens or pistils.
not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless.

QUIZZES

IS YOUR VOCABULARY AS STRONG AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT? TRY THIS QUIZ TO SEE!

It may seem like fun and games but this quiz that uses vocab from popular stories will determine how much you know.
Question 1 of 10
disgruntle

Origin of sterile

First recorded in 1545–55; from Latin sterilis “barren, unfruitful”

OTHER WORDS FROM sterile

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for sterile

British Dictionary definitions for sterile

sterile
/ (ˈstɛraɪl) /

adjective

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 sterile

sterilely, 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 sterile

sterile
[ stĕrəl, -īl′ ]

adj.

Not producing or incapable of producing offspring.
Free from all live bacteria or other microorganisms and their spores.

Other words from sterile

sterile•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 sterile

sterile
[ stĕrəl, stĕrīl′ ]

Not able to produce offspring, seeds, or fruit; unable to reproduce.
Free from disease-causing microorganisms.

Other words from sterile

sterility noun (stə-rĭlĭ-tē)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.