adulterate

verb
adul·ter·ate | \ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrāt \
adulterated; adulterating

Definition of adulterate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element especially : to prepare for sale by replacing more valuable with less valuable or inert ingredients He was in the same plight as the manufacturer who has to adulterate and misrepresent his product. If he does not, some one else will. — Upton Sinclair

adulterate

adjective
adul·ter·ate | \ə-ˈdəl-t(ə-)rət \

Definition of adulterate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : being adulterated : spurious

2 : tainted with adultery : adulterous … that incestuous, that adulterate beast …— William Shakespeare

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Other Words from adulterate

Verb

adulterator \-ˌrā-tər \ noun

Examples of adulterate in a Sentence

Verb

The company is accused of adulterating its products with cheap additives. the company was fined for adulterating its “all beef” frankfurters with cereal

Adjective

the pharmacist was convicted of selling adulterate drugs in order to maximize profits caught red-handed in what he claimed was his first adulterate encounter
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While infused occasionally and subtly with rich Western ingredients like truffles and foie gras, simplicity and freshness remains of utmost importance, and adulterating dishes with too many flavors is frowned upon. Casey Quackenbush / Hong Kong, Time, "'We're Not Educated.' The Untold Story of Lung King Heen, the World's First Michelin Three-Star Chinese Restaurant," 12 July 2018 S Food and Drug Administration Producers say the label could sap revenue if consumers confuse their brands with cheaper pancake toppers or honey adulterated with other sweeteners. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "In Vermont, Pure Outrage Over Pure Syrup," 26 June 2018 Some opioids used to adulterate heroin last longer than Narcan, the drug used to stop overdoses, which means users may need multiple Narcan injections to survive one bad dose. Cat Ferguson, The Verge, "Predatory behavior runs rampant in Facebook’s addiction support groups," 21 May 2018 Their pure, unadulterated rum had been adulterated, and Wathen and Morris would have to figure out what to do about it. Julia Thiel, Chicago Reader, "Booze / Food & Drink How a warehouse foul-up led to Fortuitous Union, a high-end rum-whiskey blend," 9 Apr. 2018 As heroin has been adulterated with the deadlier opioid fentanyl, often without the user’s knowledge, the overdose death rate has soared. Aubrey Whelan, Philly.com, "Safe injection site stirs tensions at N.E. Philly meeting on opioid crisis," 20 Mar. 2018 While tequila is supposed to be made only from a single variety of the plant, the blue agave (it's often adulterated; more on that later), mezcal makers choose from over a hundred different varieties. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Agave: The Spirit of a Nation': Film Review | SXSW 2018," 10 Mar. 2018 Perez has been charged with two counts of adulterating a substance with bodily fluids, according to the complaint, which was filed in Ramsey County District Court. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "She rejected a coworker’s advances. Then she began tasting urine in her water bottle, Minnesota police say | Miami Herald," 8 Mar. 2018 Sunset added another $850 fee to verify that the urine hadn’t been adulterated, among other charges. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Woman billed $17,850 for dodgy pee test. Alarmed experts say she’s not alone," 19 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adulterate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adulterate

Verb

circa 1526, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

circa 1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adulterate

Verb

borrowed from Latin adulterātus, past participle of adulterāre "to defile by adultery, commit adultery with, mix with another substance, pollute," from ad- ad- + -alterāre, verbal derivative of alter "second, other" — more at else entry 1

Adjective

borrowed from Latin adulterātus — more at adulterate entry 1

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Time Traveler for adulterate

The first known use of adulterate was circa 1509

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More Definitions for adulterate

adulterate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of adulterate

: to make (something, such as a food or drink) impure or weaker by adding something of poor quality

adulterate

verb
adul·ter·ate | \ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrāt \
adulterated; adulterating

Kids Definition of adulterate

: to make impure or weaker by adding something different or of poorer quality The company adulterated its orange juice with water and sugar.

adulterate

transitive verb
adul·ter·ate | \ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrāt \
adulterated; adulterating

Medical Definition of adulterate 

: to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance especially : to prepare for sale by replacing more valuable with less valuable or inert ingredients

Other Words from adulterate

adulterator \-ˌrāt-ər \ noun

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adulterate

transitive verb
adul·ter·ate | \ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrāt \
adulterated; adulterating

Legal Definition of adulterate 

: to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element especially : to prepare for sale by omitting a valuable ingredient or by replacing more valuable ingredients with less valuable or inert and usually harmful ingredients or with ingredients different from those claimed

Note: Under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a device such as a piece of medical equipment that is defective in some way is considered adulterated.

Other Words from adulterate

adulteration \ə-ˌdəl-tə-ˈrā-shən \ noun
adulterator \ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrā-tər \ noun

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Comments on adulterate

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