dis·​in·​fect | \ ˌdis-in-ˈfekt How to pronounce disinfect (audio) \
disinfected; disinfecting; disinfects

Definition of disinfect

transitive verb

1 : to free from infection especially by destroying harmful microorganisms broadly : cleanse
2 : to remove a software virus (see virus sense 3) from (a computer or device) often by means of a special program The earliest viruses were relatively simple routines, and virus detectors could easily disinfect computers.— Philips Chien

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Other Words from disinfect

disinfection \ ˌdis-​in-​ˈfek-​shən How to pronounce disinfection (audio) \ noun

Examples of disinfect in a Sentence

Chemicals were added to disinfect the water. The wound needs to be disinfected.
Recent Examples on the Web Safety protcols are in place to protect customers and employees, including plans to clean and disinfect the mall throughout the day and after-hours, especially high-traffic and high-touch areas. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "Macy’s opening off-price retail store at WestFarms Mall," 6 Aug. 2020 This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guide details how to clean and disinfect your home. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "Clorox CEO Says Disinfecting Wipes Shortage May Last Until Next Year," 5 Aug. 2020 Clean and disinfect those areas 24 hours after the child was removed from the areas. Lois K. Solomon, sun-sentinel.com, "Ask Lois: When can disabled students return to school?," 4 Aug. 2020 Clean and disinfect the areas where the symptomatic person was. al, "Alabama releases plan for when a student or teacher appears sick at school," 3 Aug. 2020 The funding can be used to cover the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Advisory requiring agencies to put face covering regulations in place, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and setting up physical separation. Jon Arnold, Dallas News, "Mesquite encouraging residents and businesses to access funds, resources during coronavirus pandemic," 23 July 2020 Disease Control and Prevention officials say schools should shut down buildings to disinfect them and work with local health officials to trace contacts. CBS News, "Students may not get "the true college experience" this year, as school reopening plans vary," 7 July 2020 And, of course, thoroughly clean and disinfect anything that was used during the party afterwards. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "How to safely celebrate the 4th of July during a pandemic," 1 July 2020 Companies should frequently clean and disinfect office spaces, especially high touch surfaces like doorknobs or elevator buttons. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland, "How offices are returning to work safely during coronavirus: Top Workplaces 2020," 28 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disinfect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disinfect

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disinfect

Middle French desinfecter, from des- dis- + infecter to infect

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Time Traveler for disinfect

Time Traveler

The first known use of disinfect was in 1598

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Statistics for disinfect

Last Updated

12 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disinfect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinfect. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for disinfect


How to pronounce disinfect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disinfect

: to clean (something) especially by using a chemical substance that kills all germs and bacteria
computers : to remove a virus from (a computer) by using a special program


dis·​in·​fect | \ ˌdi-sᵊn-ˈfekt How to pronounce disinfect (audio) \
disinfected; disinfecting

Kids Definition of disinfect

: to cleanse of germs that might cause disease


transitive verb
dis·​in·​fect | \ ˌdis-ᵊn-ˈfekt How to pronounce disinfect (audio) \

Medical Definition of disinfect

: to free from infection especially by destroying harmful microorganisms

Other Words from disinfect

disinfection \ -​ˈfek-​shən How to pronounce disinfection (audio) \ noun

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Comments on disinfect

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