[ stuh-ril-i-tee ]
See synonyms for sterility on
  1. the fact or condition of being free from living germs or microorganisms: Perhaps the most critical aspect of packaging is the barrier seal that maintains the sterility of the product.

  2. the fact or condition of being incapable of producing offspring: A growing body of studies have linked these foods to birth defects, fertility problems, and sterility.

  1. the fact or condition of not producing vegetation; barrenness: Effects of desertification include land degradation, soil sterility and erosion, and loss of biodiversity.

  2. failure to produce results, ideas, etc.; fruitlessness: One indication of the sterility of the authors’ approach is the lack of any questions for further study emerging from their 400-page book.

  3. the quality of lacking vitality, vibrancy, interest, etc.: The sterility of the white decor was counterbalanced with woven accents, pops of color, and an eclectic display of handcrafted finds.

  4. Botany. the inability, or limited ability, of a plant to produce pollen or ova: The study showed that high temperatures cause male sterility in rice plants.

Origin of sterility

First recorded in 1400–50; from Latin sterilitāt-, stem of sterilitās, equivalent to sterili(s) “barren, unfruitful” + -tās -ty2; see sterile
  • Rarely ster·ile·ness [ster-il-nis] /ˈstɛr ɪl nɪs/ .

Other words from sterility

  • an·ti·ste·ril·i·ty, noun
  • non·ste·ril·i·ty, noun

Words Nearby sterility Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sterility in a sentence