- to destroy microorganisms in or on, usually by bringing to a high temperature with steam, dry heat, or boiling liquid.
- to destroy the ability of (a person or animal) to reproduce by removing the sex organs or inhibiting their functions.
- to make (land) barren or unproductive.
- Informal. to delete or remove anything comprising or damaging from: to sterilize a government document before releasing it to the press.
- Informal. to isolate or completely protect from unwanted, unauthorized, or unwholesome activities, attitudes, influences, etc.: You can't sterilize children against violence.
Also especially British, ster·i·lise.
Origin of sterilize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sterilize
The effort to sterilize his image first began when Epstein hired Los Angeles-based spin doctors Sitrick Co.Sleazy Billionaire’s Double Life Featured Beach Parties With Stephen Hawking
January 8, 2015
Sterilize: to destroy all the germs or spores in or on anything.Agriculture for Beginners
Charles William Burkett
In the field it is sometimes necessary to sterilize or filter water.Manual of Military Training
James A. Moss
The mother should sterilize the wound as thoroughly as possible.The Eugenic Marriage, Volume IV. (of IV.)
Some ligations and short resections have failed to sterilize.The Ethics of Medical Homicide and Mutilation
Then sterilize your cans, and you won't have a bit of trouble.Living on a Little
Caroline French Benton
- (tr) to render sterile; make infertile or barren
Word Origin and History for sterilize
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
- To deprive a person or animal of the ability to produce offspring, as by removing the reproductive organs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.