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[aw-tuh-kleyv] /ˈɔ təˌkleɪv/
a heavy vessel for conducting chemical reactions under high pressure.
Medicine/Medical, Bacteriology. an apparatus in which steam under pressure effects sterilization.
verb (used with object), autoclaved, autoclaving.
to place in an autoclave.
Origin of autoclave
1875-80; < French, equivalent to auto- auto-1 + clave < Latin clāv-, stem of clāvis key and clāvus nail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for autoclave
  • He took them down the hall to an autoclave, an ovenlike device used to sterilize equipment.
  • The universe ends as a lifeless autoclave or as a lifeless deep freeze.
  • The autoclave manufacturer's instructions for use should be carefully followed.
  • No autoclave may be loaded beyond the design capacity.
  • These changes resulted in less boiler demand, less boiler blowdown volumes, and less autoclave condensate discharge.
  • The containers can be sterilized by using an autoclave, which is a machine that sterilizes containers with pressurized steam.
British Dictionary definitions for autoclave


a strong sealed vessel used for chemical reactions at high pressure
an apparatus for sterilizing objects (esp surgical instruments) or for cooking by means of steam under pressure
(civil engineering) a vessel in which freshly cast concrete or sand-lime bricks are cured very rapidly in high-pressure steam
(transitive) to put in or subject to the action of an autoclave
Word Origin
C19: from French auto- + -clave, from Latin clāvis key
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for autoclave

1880, from French, literally "self-locking," from auto- "self" (see auto-) + Latin clavis "key" (see slot (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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autoclave in Medicine

autoclave au·to·clave (ô'tō-klāv')
A pressurized, steam-heated vessel used for sterilization. v. au·to·claved, au·to·clav·ing, au·to·claves
To treat in an autoclave.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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autoclave in Science
An airtight steel vessel used to heat substances and objects under very high pressures. Autoclaves are used in laboratory experiments and for sterilization.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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