To make sterile or unproductive; to impoverish, as land; to exhaust of fertility.
- To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
- To deprive (a person or an animal) of the ability to produce offspring, as by removing the reproductive organs.
- To make incapable of bearing fruit or germinating.
- To render (land) unfruitful.
- Economics To place (gold) in safekeeping so as not to affect the supply of money or credit.
- To make inoffensive or innocuous: sterilized the terminology with euphemisms.