We have water that is not drinkable, we boil it for killing the microbes, is this sentence correct “I immunize the water ” or there is an idiom for this action?

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    The word is sterilize. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 11:34
  • 1
    @PeterShor Also: disinfect. (Technically sterilization implies removal of all life-forms, which boiling doesn't achieve.)
    – msam
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 15:49

4 Answers 4


When you boil it to kill the microbes, you are sterilizing the water through Sterilization.

Dictionary.com meaning:

ster·i·lize [ster-uh-lahyz]
verb (used with object),

ster·i·lized, ster·i·liz·ing.

  1. to destroy microorganisms in or on, usually by bringing to a high temperature with steam, dry heat, or boiling liquid.
  2. to destroy the ability of (a person or animal) to reproduce by removing the sex organs or inhibiting their functions.
  3. to make (land) barren or unproductive.
  4. Informal. to delete or remove anything comprising or damaging from: to sterilize a government document before releasing it to the press.
  5. Informal. to isolate or completely protect from unwanted, unauthorized, or unwholesome activities, attitudes, influences, etc.: You can't sterilize children against violence.

And by sterilizing you are making the water Potable.

fit or suitable for drinking: potable water.


The commonly used term for this is to "purify" the water; other options are: sanitize, disinfect or decontaminate.

  • Welcome to EL&U. As the help center indicates, the best answers provide detailed explanation, with suitable references and links. I would note, for example, that disinfect and decontaminate refer to two different ways to purify; they are not interchangeable.
    – choster
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 19:37

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