tr.v. ster·il·ized, ster·il·iz·ing, ster·il·iz·es
1. To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
2. To eliminate the ability of a person or animal to produce offspring, as by altering or removing the reproductive organs.
a. To make incapable of bearing fruit or germinating.
b. To render (land) unfruitful.
4. Economics To place (gold) in safekeeping so as not to affect the supply of money or credit.
5. To make inoffensive or innocuous: sterilized the terminology with euphemisms.
ster′i·li·zation (-lĭ-zāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.