[ster-uh-luh-zey-shuh n]


the act of sterilizing.
the condition of being sterilized.
the destruction of all living microorganisms, as pathogenic or saprophytic bacteria, vegetative forms, and spores.

Origin of sterilization

First recorded in 1870–75; sterile + -ization
Related formsnon·ster·i·li·za·tion, nounre·ster·i·li·za·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for sterilization




the act or procedure of sterilizing or making sterile
the state of being sterile; sterilized condition
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 sterilization

1874, noun of action from sterilize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for sterilization




The act or procedure of sterilizing.
The condition of being sterile or sterilized.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for sterilization



The procedure of destroying all microorganisms in or on a given environment, such as a surgical instrument, in order to prevent the spread of infection. This is usually done by using heat, radiation, or chemical agents.
Any of various surgical procedures intended to eliminate the capacity to reproduce in humans or animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for sterilization


The removal of all microorganisms and other pathogens from an object or surface by treating it with chemicals or subjecting it to high heat or radiation.

Sterilization also refers to procedures that result in infertility. Vasectomies and tubal ligations, in which the fallopian tubes of a woman are tied off, are examples of sterilization techniques.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.