Definition of sterilize in US English:


(British sterilise)


[with object]
  • 1Make (something) free from bacteria or other living microorganisms.

    ‘babies' feeding equipment can be cleaned and sterilized’
    • ‘If you have a blood transfusion or medical treatment abroad, where medical equipment is not sterilised properly, the virus may be transmitted.’
    • ‘It is a purifying agent, for sterilizing scalpels and refining metals.’
    • ‘Before you can sterilize a medical device, you have to figure out how you're going to do it.’
    • ‘Following the procedure, these items were cleaned, disinfected, terminally sterilized, and stored in the same trays.’
    • ‘His patented oxygenated cream was originally used by surgeons to safely cleanse and sterilise their hands and make sure their tools of the trade stayed in tip-top shape.’
    • ‘The audit found a practice nurse had been disinfecting but not sterilising an instrument known as a speculum.’
    • ‘Needless to say, they don't sterilize needles.’
    • ‘This chemical is used to make other chemicals and is also widely used in the health care industry to sterilize medical devices.’
    • ‘Also, check to be sure that your nail technician properly sterilizes all tools used during your manicure.’
    • ‘However, it was actually the first radiation technology for sterilizing medical products in the late 1800s.’
    • ‘Unless packaged and sterilized, critical items should be reprocessed immediately before use.’
    • ‘Many variables must be considered, such as the original intended use or design of the device, its complexity and fragility, the ease of and methods for cleaning and sterilizing the product, and the number of times it is reprocessed.’
    • ‘Always use commercial potting mixes in your containers as they are sterilized and disease free.’
    • ‘A number of methods, including radiation, steam, and ethylene oxide gas, are currently used for sterilizing medical products.’
    • ‘In countries where equipment for medical and dental treatment is not sterilised properly, the virus can be passed on.’
    • ‘Team members identified having a system that provided terminally sterilized instruments as another priority.’
    • ‘Pasteur sterilized two containers, both of which contained a broth rich in nutrients.’
    • ‘She remembers vividly that the kitchen cook stove was used to prepare meals, scrub-up before surgery and sterilize operating room equipment, surgical instruments, and rubber gloves.’
    • ‘The dentures can be soaked in any solution used to sterilize baby's bottles.’
    • ‘Firstly, our market staff are cleansing, disinfecting and sterilising our auction premises, so that we will be able to offer a safe environment when we are allowed to open.’
    disinfect, purify, fumigate, decontaminate, sanitize
    View synonyms
  • 2usually be sterilizedDeprive (a person or animal) of the ability to produce offspring, typically by removing or blocking the sex organs.

    • ‘He pointed out that more than 2,000 cats and dogs were sterilised in October when vets and animal welfare groups offered the procedure at a discounted fee.’
    • ‘Although in the past local officials attempted to sterilize the male monkeys, the program proved unsuccessful due to high costs and the side effects of anesthetizing the animals.’
    • ‘Can you tell me how old you were when you were sterilised?’
    • ‘However, and I have evidence in the form of ultrasound photographs to back this up, they succeeded in sterilising me.’
    • ‘After being anesthetized, she was sterilized without her knowledge.’
    • ‘We had thought eight kids was enough and I was sterilised after the twins but now we want more.’
    • ‘Men and women requesting sterilization are usually seen at least twice by doctors prior to being sterilized, as the operation is designed to be permanent.’
    • ‘Dogs are being sterilized to prevent more strays roaming the city.’
    • ‘The gynaecologist still did not feel that he would be acting in her best interests by sterilising her and decided to seek a second opinion about whether the operation was appropriate.’
    • ‘It is this day that the Government has dedicated to vaccinate and sterilise dogs and other pet animals.’
    • ‘In terms of unsterilised female dogs and cats, the proposed by-laws say that there will be a grace period of 12 months after the commencement of these by-laws for the animals to be sterilised.’
    • ‘She chose to work at the club, even though it required that she be surgically sterilized.’
    • ‘Once the animals have been sterilised they are issued with collars and identity tags before the owners or new owners can take them home.’
    • ‘Since this woman has a history of child endangerment, and has already given up/lost custody of her two older children, should she be sterilized?’
    • ‘I have to please her, or she'll kill me or sterilize me or do something to keep me from breeding.’
    • ‘He told me that my tubes were tied, that I was sterilized and I would have no more children.’
    • ‘Why don't they just take the kids into care and sterilise the parents?’
    • ‘Would it coincide with our ethics to sterilize all criminals in order to stop crime and violence for good?’
    • ‘The law cannot be used to force people to be sterilized; it would violate their civil rights.’
    • ‘And so we had collected the comparison group for our pregnancy study of women who had been sterilised, women who could not be pregnant.’
    vasectomize, hysterectomize
    castrate, geld, neuter, cut, caponize, emasculate
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Make (land or water) unable to produce crops or support life.
      • ‘Countless lakes have been more or less sterilized by acid rain.’
      • ‘Black lava-like toxic sludge containing sixty poisonous chemicals choked and sterilized up to 100 miles of rivers and creeks and poisoned the drinking water in seventeen communities.’
      • ‘Land along the proposed route has been essentially sterilised for the past two years and there still is no sign of a Compulsory Purchase Order.’