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19th century, borrowed from French sanitaire, formed from Latin sanitas (health). Analysable as sanity +‎ -ary.



sanitary (comparative more sanitary, superlative most sanitary)

  1. Of, or relating to health.
  2. Clean and free from pathogens; hygienic.

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sanitary (plural sanitaries)

  1. Sanitary towel.
    • 1996, Tekla Dennison Miller, The Warden Wore Pink, page 117:
      When I made evening rounds, I saw women with their hair rolled, using the sanitaries for rollers.
    • 2002, Jael Silliman, Anannya Bhattacharjee, Angela Yvonne Davis, Policing the National Body: Sex, Race, and Criminalization, →ISBN, page 21:
      Women... bleed all over everything because of no proper sanitary protection for disposal and no tampons are issued, bloody unwrapped sanitaries are in every dorm john, every trash can, and blood on every faucet handle...and everywhere imaginable.
    • 2004, LaVerne McQuiller Williams, Women, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System, →ISBN, page 24:
      But sanitaries are the worst. The prison only brings out two packs of sanitaries for everybody, and that's like 240 of sanitaries every month for all the women.