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Alternative forms[edit]


sterile +‎ -ize


  • IPA(key): /ˈstɛrɪlʌɪz/
  • (file)


sterilize (third-person singular simple present sterilizes, present participle sterilizing, simple past and past participle sterilized)

  1. (transitive) To deprive of the ability to procreate.
    • 2013, Gore, Al, “The Reinvention of Life and Death”, in The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change[1], New York: Random House, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 234:
      In China, the issue of forced abortions has resurfaced with the allegations by escaped activist Chen Guangcheng, but the outgoing premier Wen Jiabao has publicly called for a ban not only on forced abortion, but also of “fetus gender identification.” Nevertheless, many women who have abortions in China are also sterilized against their will.
  2. (transitive) To make unable to produce; to make unprofitable.
  3. (transitive, biology) To kill, deactivate (denature), or destroy (break apart) all living, viable microorganisms and spores on a surface, in a fluid, or contained in a compound, such as culture media or a medical product.
  4. (transitive) To redact (a document), removing classified or sensitive material.
    • 1974, Miles Copeland, Without cloak or dagger: the truth about the new espionage, page 141:
      [] (minus, of course, any information that might identify the agent and other operational personnel), or he might code it or "sterilize" it, and reward the foreign station chief in some other way.
    • 2014, Evanthis Hatzivassiliou, NATO and Western Perceptions of the Soviet Bloc, page 2:
      The same phenomenon is also detectable in the records of the meetings of NATO committees: the priority of avoiding any manifestation of internal disagreements led to the production of 'sterilized' records of discussions which evidently were significantly more lively than shown in the official papers.

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From French stérilisé, past participle of stériliser.




  1. sterilized
  2. sterile (unable to reproduce)