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

  • n. A strong, pressurized, steam-heated vessel, as for laboratory experiments, sterilization, or cooking.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A strong, pressurized, heated vessel, as for laboratory experiments, sterilization, cooking or mineral processing.
  • v. To sterilize laboratory equipment in an autoclave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of French stewpan with a steam-tight lid.
  • n. a device used for sterilizing objects by exposing them to steam at above atmospheric pressure (and thus at a temperature above the normal boiling point of water). It consists of a closed chamber able to withstand internal pressure, and a means of passing superheated steam into the chamber. Autoclaves are made in various sizes, and are much used in hospitals and research laboratories to render instruments and equipment sterile.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of stewpan, the lid of which is kept close and steam-tight by the steam proceeding from the contents of the pan. It is an application to culinary purposes of Papin's digester. See digester.
  • n. A form of digester in which mixtures of chemicals can be safely heated under great pressure: largely used in the manufacture of coal-tar dyestuffs.
  • n. A device for the sterilization by steam under pressure of bacterial cultures or culture media, milk, and other substances.

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

  • n. a device for heating substances above their boiling point; used to manufacture chemicals or to sterilize surgical instruments
  • v. subject to the action of an autoclave


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

French : Greek auto-, auto- + Latin clāvis, key (from the fact that it is self-locking from the pressurization).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French autoclave, formed with prefix auto- + Latin clavis ("key").


  • Then Gilles took it out of the wine, cooked it with alcohol to make a flamb, added flour and pig blood and cooked it in the autoclave, which is basically a large, cylindrical pressure cooker.

    The Foie Gras Wars

  • The prototype of the autoclave was the digester of Denis Papin, invented in 1681, which is still used in cooking, but the appliance finds a much wider range of employment in chemical industry, where it is utilized in various forms in the manufacture of candles, coal-tar colours, &c.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon"

  • Presently, the design of the autoclave, essentially, the autoclave is a sulfur burner.

  • Genkin's windowless clinic in North York was equipped with a green vinyl dental chair, rusted and ratty, and a heavily dinged autoclave, which is used to sterilize equipment but was not turned on. - Home Page

  • It put $500,000 into the world's largest "autoclave," a giant blue cylinder that works like a pressure cooker to stick, or laminate, glass plates together.

    China Closes the Gap in Glass Making

  • This can be tested in an autoclave which is simply a pressure cooker that can withstand higher pressures.

    11. Glaze problems

  • After all, it was in the corner of the autoclave room, right next to that stainless-steel behemoth, that my mother kept a sanctuary for herself during the seven years she spent at Missing before our rude arrival.

    Excerpt: Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

  • But just beyond the swinging door in the room adjoining Operating Theater 3, the oversize autoclave (donated by the Lutheran church in Zurich) bellowed and wept for my mother while its scalding steam sterilized the surgical instruments and towels that would be used on her.

    Excerpt: Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

  • Some public health authorities, infectious-disease specialists and national security experts say the time has come to autoclave hundreds of vials of the pathogen held in two high-security government labs in the United States and Russia.

    Should last remaining known smallpox virus die?

  • This test, usually done monthly, shows how effective an autoclave is at killing a certain heat-resistant bacteria.

    Getting a tattoo is largely safe, though experts advise using a reputable shop


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