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[dis-in-fekt] /ˌdɪs ɪnˈfɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to cleanse (rooms, wounds, clothing, etc.) of infection; destroy disease germs in.
Origin of disinfect
1590-1600; < Middle French desinfecter, equivalent to des- dis-1 + infecter to infect
Related forms
disinfection, noun
disinfective, adjective
disinfector, noun
redisinfect, verb (used with object)
undisinfected, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for disinfect
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If a valuable dog should get into the room, disinfect its hair thoroughly with the acid bichloride and then rinse the hair.

  • Let us go down into these dens of moral disease and disinfect them.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • It does not aid digestion, preserve the teeth, or disinfect, and it is not a remedy for anything.

    Habits that Handicap Charles B. Towns
  • To disinfect the nose, a solution of Glyco-Thymoline is suitable.

  • Better build about four nests in the dark under the bin, and be sure to disinfect them by white-washing inside and out.

    The Golden Bird Maria Thompson Daviess
  • But the problem of how one could disinfect a guitar was worrying.

    Poor Folk in Spain Jan Gordon
  • How long does it take to disinfect itself of these minor impurities?

    The Gilded Age, Complete Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner
  • To disinfect a den, put it in a large tub and soak it in “sheep dip”.

    Practical Skunk Raising William Edwin Pratt
British Dictionary definitions for disinfect


(transitive) to rid of microorganisms potentially harmful to man, esp by chemical means
Derived Forms
disinfection, noun
disinfector, noun
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 disinfect

1590s, perhaps from French désinfecter (16c.), or formed in English from dis- + infect. Related: Disinfected; disinfecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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disinfect in Medicine

disinfect dis·in·fect (dĭs'ĭn-fěkt')
v. dis·in·fect·ed, dis·in·fect·ing, dis·in·fects
To cleanse something so as to destroy or prevent the growth of disease-carrying microorganisms.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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