dis·​in·​fec·​tant | \ ˌdis-in-ˈfek-tənt How to pronounce disinfectant (audio) \

Definition of disinfectant

: an agent that frees from infection especially : a chemical that destroys vegetative forms of harmful microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi) especially on inanimate objects but that may be less effective in destroying spores

Examples of disinfectant in a Sentence

They use a strong disinfectant on the medical equipment. Clean the area with disinfectant.
Recent Examples on the Web Indiana's Lawrence Township is cleaning school buses with a hospital-grade disinfectant spray for students still needing rides to school. CBS News, "97,000 children reportedly test positive for coronavirus in two weeks as schools gear up for instruction," 10 Aug. 2020 The purchase and application of MicroSure disinfectant, which is sprayed on surfaces to kill bacteria and viruses and then provides a barrier to prevent them from returning. John Cutter, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake schools get $1.7 million for COVID-19 prep," 7 Aug. 2020 Within seconds after that last play was made, someone was always walking around the Ruth Minchen Athletic Complex and spraying the bleachers with disinfectant. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Around Deer Park: Local Dunkin’ Donuts appears safe from cutting block," 31 July 2020 Uber sent him by spraying them with disinfectant and reusing them. Travis Loller, Star Tribune, "Tornado, virus, protests rattle Nashville rideshare economy," 29 July 2020 In an effort to assure customers amid the coronavirus pandemic, Amtrak has implemented hygiene protocols like spraying high-touch surfaces with disinfectant as well as requiring everyone on board to wear a mask. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "Amtrak's Buy One Get One Free Sale for Roomettes Has Tickets for As Low As $193," 8 July 2020 Like other disinfectants, the surface in question must be kept wet with disinfectant in that time frame — and it's meant to be used on hard, non-porous surfaces. Lynn Redmile, Good Housekeeping, "The Right Way to Kill Coronavirus Germs, According to Cleaning Experts," 7 July 2020 Daily cleanings, the use of specialized disinfectant and shields are some of the ways Metro is working to prevent the spread of the virus. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, "2 more Metro employees test positive for COVID-19, 7 total workers with the virus," 4 July 2020 Ultraviolet light can be used as a disinfectant on surfaces. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Coronavirus myths debunked by Mayo Clinic experts," 10 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disinfectant.' 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 disinfectant

1837, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for disinfectant

Time Traveler

The first known use of disinfectant was in 1837

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Statistics for disinfectant

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disinfectant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinfectant. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for disinfectant


How to pronounce disinfectant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disinfectant

: a chemical substance that is used to kill harmful germs and bacteria : a substance that disinfects something


dis·​in·​fec·​tant | \ ˌdi-sᵊn-ˈfek-tənt How to pronounce disinfectant (audio) \

Kids Definition of disinfectant

: something that kills germs


dis·​in·​fec·​tant | \ -ˈfek-tənt How to pronounce disinfectant (audio) \

Medical Definition of disinfectant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an agent that frees from infection especially : a chemical that destroys vegetative forms of harmful microorganisms (as bacteria and fungi) especially on inanimate objects but that may be less effective in destroying spores



Medical Definition of disinfectant (Entry 2 of 2)

: serving or tending to disinfect : suitable for use in disinfecting

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