To cauterize is to seal off a wound or incision by burning it or freezing it, usually with a hot iron, electricity, or chemicals. Metaphorically, cauterize means to make less sensitive to feelings and emotions.

Cauterize is usually a medical term. In surgery, using an electrical tool to cauterize the incision seals off blood vessels, resulting in a cleaner operation that heals more easily. Extreme cold, electricity, and chemicals are also used outside the body cauterize, or "burn off," warts and vessels that cause nosebleeds.

Definitions of cauterize

v burn, sear, or freeze (tissue) using a hot iron or electric current or a caustic agent

“The surgeon cauterized the wart”
burn, cauterise
Type of:
care for, treat
provide treatment for

v make insensitive or callous; deaden feelings or morals

callous, cauterise
Type of:
harden, indurate, inure
cause to accept or become hardened to; habituate

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