from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
  • transitive v. To deprive (a person or an animal) of the ability to produce offspring, as by removing the reproductive organs.
  • transitive v. To make incapable of bearing fruit or germinating.
  • transitive v. To render (land) unfruitful.
  • transitive v. Economics To place (gold) in safekeeping so as not to affect the supply of money or credit.
  • transitive v. To make inoffensive or innocuous: sterilized the terminology with euphemisms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To deprive a male or female the ability to procreate.
  • v. To make unable to produce. To make unprofitable.
  • v. To kill, deactivate (denature), or destroy (break apart) all living, viable microorganisms and spores that would be on a surface, in a fluid, or contained in a compound, such as culture media or a medical product.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make sterile or unproductive; to impoverish, as land; to exhaust of fertility.
  • transitive v. To deprive of the power of reproducing; to render incapable of germination or fecundation; to make sterile.
  • transitive v. To destroy all spores or germs in (an organic fluid or mixture) or on (a medical instrument), as by heat, so as to prevent contamination by bacteria or other organisms. A common method of sterilization in laboratories and medical facilities is to heat a liquid sample or an instrument in an autoclave.
  • transitive v. To destroy all spores or germs on (a surface) by wetting with an antiseptic liquid, such as an alcoholic solution.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To render sterile or unproductive in any way; specifically, in bacteriology, to render free from living germs, as by heating or otherwise. Also spelled sterilise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make free from bacteria
  • v. make infertile


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • "5. Economics To place (gold) in safekeeping so as not to affect the supply of money or credit."

    --American Heritage Dictionary

    September 15, 2010