Definition of sterile adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsteraɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsterəl//
    jump to other results
  1. 1(of humans or animals) not able to produce children or young animals synonym infertile compare fertile
  2. 2completely clean and free from bacteria sterile bandages sterile water
  3. 3(of a discussion, an argument, etc.) not producing any useful result synonym fruitless a sterile debate
  4. 4lacking individual personality, imagination or new ideas The room felt cold and sterile. He felt creatively and emotionally sterile.
  5. 5(of land) not good enough to produce crops
  6. Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin sterilis; related to Greek steira ‘barren cow’. Sense (2) dates from the late 19th cent.Extra examples The experiment was performed under sterile conditions. Their relationship had become sterile over the years. This top fits over the bottle and keeps the teat sterile. the increasingly sterile debate on constitutional reform All the equipment used is new and sterile. At forty-seven he was creatively and emotionally sterile. Dilute the stock solution to 2.5% with sterile water. I found I was writing a completely sterile account of their life. I like things to look old and comfortable, not cold and sterile. Let us move on from sterile argument about things like the format of meetings towards real cooperation. To me, there is something very sterile about these hi-tech guitars. We need to focus on solving the problem rather than continuing the sterile debate on how it came about.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sterile