sterile [ ster-il , -ahyl] or, esp. British SYNONYMS | WORD ORIGIN 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 noting a plant in which reproductive structures fail to develop. bearing no stamens or pistils. not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless. Origin of sterile
First recorded in
1545–55, sterile is from the Latin word sterilis unfruitful Related forms ster·ile·ly, adverb ste·ril·i·ty , [st uh- ril-i-tee] /stəˈrɪl ɪ ti/ ster·ile·ness, noun an·ti·ste·ril·i·ty, adjective half-ster·ile, adjective non·ster·ile, adjective non·ster·ile·ly, adverb non·ste·ril·i·ty, noun un·ster·ile, adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for sterilely 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 sterilely, adverb sterility ( stɛˈrɪlɪtɪ), noun Word Origin for sterile
C16: from Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for sterilely adj.
early 15c., "barren" (implied in
sterility), from Middle French stérile "not producing fruit," from Latin sterilis "barren, unproductive," from PIE *ster- "sterile, barren" originally "stiff, rigid" (cf. Greek steresthai "be deprived of," steira "sterile," stereos "firm, solid, stiff, hard;" Sanskrit starih "a barren cow;" Old Church Slavonic sterica "a barren cow;" Gothic stairo "barren;" Old Norse stirtla "a barren cow"). See torpor. Originally in English with reference to soil; of females, from 1530s. The sense of "sterilized" is first recorded 1877.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
adj. Not producing or incapable of producing offspring. Free from all live bacteria or other microorganisms and their spores. Related forms ster null ′ile•ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Not able to produce offspring, seeds, or fruit; unable to reproduce. Free from disease-causing microorganisms. Related forms sterility noun ( stə-rĭl) ′ĭ-tē
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.