Encyclopedia Article


The term literally means "opposing sepsis," which is an inflammation in the body caused by infection. In medicine, an antiseptic is an antibacterial substance that can be applied topically to skin or mucous membranes. Antiseptic also refers to disinfectant solutions used to sterilize medical instruments and surfaces in order to prevent the growth of potentially harmful microorganisms. Colloquially, the term refers to something or someone that is exceptionally clean, neat, and orderly, to the point of being cold and impersonal.

Photo Credit: 

Vintage bottle of Listerine antiseptic solution, photograph taken July 7, 2012 by Britta Gustafson, is licensed under CC BY-SA.

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