Definition of antibiotic in English:



  • A medicine (such as penicillin or its derivatives) that inhibits the growth of or destroys microorganisms.

    ‘course of antibiotics’
    mass noun ‘an injection of antibiotic’
    • ‘One of the most pressing worries is the use of antibiotics to accelerate growth and combat disease.’
    • ‘The lesion had not responded to self prescribed topical antibiotics and antiseptics.’
    • ‘Further research would identify those patients most likely to benefit from antibiotics.’
    • ‘Most types of pneumonia can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics.’
    • ‘The aim is to stop the rise in antibiotic resistant bugs caused by overuse of antibiotics.’
    • ‘A longer course of treatment may be needed if the bacteria are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics.’
    • ‘He was discharged home two days after surgery, with a course of antibiotics for three days.’
    • ‘If you have a bacterial infection, your GP may prescribe a short course of antibiotics.’
    • ‘A lot are used because in low doses antibiotics promote rapid meat growth, and hence more profit.’
    • ‘Unlike most types of chlamydia, treatment entails taking antibiotics for up to three weeks.’
    • ‘All general practitioners believed that antibiotics are beneficial to some patients.’
    • ‘Parents may then choose treatments with fewer side effects than antibiotics.’
    • ‘You may be given painkillers, antibiotics and mouthwash solutions to take home.’
    • ‘If anything, older people did worse after immediate treatment with antibiotics.’
    • ‘Parents who believe in antibiotics are more likely than other parents to take their children to a doctor.’
    • ‘In contrast just four of 147 control women had been given antibiotics during labour.’
    • ‘Completing just a five day course of antibiotics or antimalarial drugs is a rare achievement here.’
    • ‘You will almost certainly be given antibiotics to take after the operation.’
    • ‘If this happens, a course of antibiotics can be prescribed and this will usually clear it up quickly.’
    • ‘You may also need to have painkillers, antibiotics, and fluids through a drip.’


  • Relating to antibiotics.

    ‘a prolonged course of antibiotic therapy’
    • ‘That's a sign to see the doctor for a prescription for antibiotic ear drops that will take care of most cases.’
    • ‘Few pharmaceutical companies are now involved in antibiotic development, however.’
    • ‘Help fight antibiotic resistance by taking simple steps to prevent the spread of infections.’
    • ‘It is likely that without ongoing antibiotic suppression, reinfection will occur.’
    • ‘Steroid and acetic acid or steroid and antibiotic ear drops are equally effective.’
    • ‘Rates of appropriate antibiotic treatment with combination therapy and monotherapy were similar when reported.’
    • ‘The antibiotics that save one person's life may lead to antibiotic resistance that will harm others.’
    • ‘Taking less of an antibiotic when you need it will not help prevent antibiotic resistance.’
    • ‘Whether patients at lower risk for infection benefit from antibiotic therapy is less clear.’
    • ‘She had had no previous episodes or prophylactic antibiotic treatment.’
    • ‘We propose that this represents a mechanism of selection through antibiotic pressure.’
    • ‘In addition, no antibiotic therapy was administered, as this was a lethal model.’
    • ‘This high prevalence justifies empirical antibiotic treatment.’
    • ‘First, there is a similarly small risk of adverse effects associated with antibiotic use.’
    • ‘The patient was treated with oral antibiotic therapy without diminution of the mass.’
    • ‘Infective conjunctivitis caused by bacteria is usually treated with antibiotic drops or ointment, in the affected eye.’
    • ‘The effect of early antibiotic therapy on this form of infection is unknown.’
    • ‘If patients fulfill the above criteria, antibiotic therapy should be considered.’
    • ‘The key measure for preventing antibiotic associated diarrhoea, however, is to limit antibiotic use.’
    • ‘The medical centre argues that restricting antibiotic use because of the dangers of growing resistance may not always be correct.’


Mid 19th century (in the sense ‘doubting the possibility of life in a particular environment’): from anti- + Greek biōtikos ‘fit for life’ (from bios ‘life’).