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3 definitions found
 for sterilize
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Sterilize \Ster"il*ize\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Sterilized; p.
     pr. & vb. n. Sterilizing.] [Cf. F. st['e]riliser.]
     1. To make sterile or unproductive; to impoverish, as land;
        to exhaust of fertility. [R.] "Sterilizing the earth."
        --Woodward.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. (Biol.) To deprive of the power of reproducing; to render
        incapable of germination or fecundation; to make sterile.
  
     3. (Microbiology, Medicine) To destroy all spores or germs in
        (an organic fluid or mixture) or on (a medical
        instrument), as by heat, so as to prevent contamination by
        bacteria or other organisms. A common method of
        sterilization in laboratories and medical facilities is to
        heat a liquid sample or an instrument in an autoclave.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
  
     4. To destroy all spores or germs on (a surface) by wetting
        with an antiseptic liquid, such as an alcoholic solution.
        [PJC]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  sterilize
      v 1: make free from bacteria [syn: sterilize, sterilise]
      2: make infertile; "in some countries, people with genetically
         transmissible disabilites are sterilized" [syn: sterilize,
         sterilise, desex, unsex, desexualize, desexualise,
         fix]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  36 Moby Thesaurus words for "sterilize":
     alter, antisepticize, autoclave, boil, castrate, change,
     chlorinate, clean, cleanse, decontaminate, delouse, demasculinize,
     depurate, desex, desexualize, devitalize, disinfect, effeminize,
     emasculate, enervate, etiolate, exhaust, fix, fumigate, geld,
     hygienize, mutilate, neuter, pasteurize, purify, sanitate,
     sanitize, spay, unman, unnerve, unsex
  
  

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