Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

contaminate

play
verb con·tam·i·nate \kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt\

Simple Definition of contaminate

  • : to make (something) dangerous, dirty, or impure by adding something harmful or undesirable to it

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of contaminate

contaminated

contaminating

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association <bacteria contaminated the wound> b :  to make inferior or impure by admixture <iron contaminated with phosphorus>

  3. 2 :  to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements

contaminative

play \-ˌnā-tiv\ adjective

contaminator

play \-ˌnā-tər\ noun

Examples of contaminate in a sentence

  1. Be careful not to allow bacteria to contaminate the wound.

  2. Don't touch the microchip or the oil on your hands will contaminate it.

  3. Make sure the white paint is not contaminated by any of the other colors.



Origin and Etymology of contaminate

Middle English, from Latin contaminatus, past participle of contaminare; akin to Latin contingere to have contact with — more at contingent


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of contaminate

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source <water contaminated by industrial wastes>. taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination <tainted meat> <a politician's tainted reputation>. pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy <the polluted waters of the river>. defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration <defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo>.

Rhymes with contaminate

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, appropriate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, assimilate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, degenerate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, elaborate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, initiate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, retaliate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate


CONTAMINATE Defined for Kids

contaminate

play
verb con·tam·i·nate \kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt\

Definition of contaminate for Students

contaminated

contaminating

  1. 1 :  to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association <The wound was contaminated by bacteria.>

  2. 2 :  to make unfit for use by adding something harmful or unpleasant <The water is contaminated with chemicals.>




Medical Dictionary

contaminate

play
transitive verb con·tam·i·nate \kən-ˈtam-ə-ˌnāt\

Medical Definition of contaminate

contaminated

;

contaminating

  1. 1:  to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association <bacteria contaminated the wound>

  2. 2:  to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements <water contaminated by sewage>

contaminative

\-ˌnāt-iv\play adjective

contaminator

\-ˌnāt-ər\play noun




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up contaminate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a representation of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

lazy frenetic philistine melancholy
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ