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[ster-il or, esp. British, -ahyl] /ˈstɛr ɪl or, esp. British, -aɪl/

free from living germs or microorganisms; aseptic:
sterile surgical instruments.
incapable of producing offspring; not producing offspring.
barren; not producing vegetation:
sterile soil.

not productive of results, ideas, etc.; fruitless.
unable to produce offspring; infertile
free from living, esp pathogenic, microorganisms; aseptic
(of plants or their parts) not producing or bearing seeds, fruit, spores, stamens, or pistils
lacking inspiration or vitality; fruitless
(economics, US) (of gold) not being used to support credit creation or an increased money supply

early 15c., “barren” (implied in sterility), from Middle French stérile “not producing fruit,” from Latin sterilis “barren, unproductive,” from PIE *ster- “sterile, barren” originally “stiff, rigid” (cf. Greek steresthai “be deprived of,” steira “sterile,” stereos “firm, solid, stiff, hard;” Sanskrit starih “a barren cow;” Old Church Slavonic sterica “a barren cow;” Gothic stairo “barren;” Old Norse stirtla “a barren cow”). See torpor. Originally in English with reference to soil; of females, from 1530s. The sense of “sterilized” is first recorded 1877.

sterile ster·ile (stěr’əl, -īl’)

ster’ile·ness or ste·ril’i·ty (stə-rĭl’ĭ-tē) n.
(stěr’əl, stěr’īl’)

sterility noun (stə-rĭl’ĭ-tē)


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