sterilize (sterilizes, present participle sterilizing; past and past participle sterilized)

  1. (transitive) To deprive of the ability to procreate.
  2. (transitive) To make unable to produce; to make unprofitable.
  3. (transitive, biology) To kill, deactivate (denature), or destroy (break apart) all living, viable microorganisms and spores on a surface, in a fluid, or contained in a compound, such as culture media or a medical product.
  4. (transitive) To redact (a document), removing classified or sensitive material.
    • 1974, Miles Copeland, Without cloak or dagger: the truth about the new espionage (page 141)
      […] (minus, of course, any information that might identify the agent and other operational personnel), or he might code it or "sterilize" it, and reward the foreign station chief in some other way.
    • 2014, Evanthis Hatzivassiliou, NATO and Western Perceptions of the Soviet Bloc (page 2)
      The same phenomenon is also detectable in the records of the meetings of NATO committees: the priority of avoiding any manifestation of internal disagreements led to the production of 'sterilized' records of discussions which evidently were significantly more lively than shown in the official papers.
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