adulterate

verb
adul·​ter·​ate | \ ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrāt How to pronounce adulterate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce adulterate (audio) \

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 \ ə-​ˈdəl-​tə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce adulterator (audio) \ 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

The new law says Maine would not consider edibles produced with recreational marijuana adulterated. Washington Post, "Maine governor signs rules to finally allow pot sales," 27 June 2019 Prosecutors charged 47-year-old Conrrado Cruz Perez of Minneapolis with adulterating a substance with bodily fluids. Fox News, "Charges: Rejected man urinated in co-worker's water bottle," 8 Mar. 2018 The test strip, originally designed for the medical profession to test urine, can also be used off-label by heroin and cocaine users who fear their drugs have been adulterated with the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Fentanyl’s New Foe: A Quick Test Strip That Can Prevent Overdoses," 31 Dec. 2018 For 29 years, Wiley was the bane of companies that peddled adulterated food. Eugenia Bone, WSJ, "‘The Poison Squad’ Review: Ever Wonder What’s In It?," 27 Sep. 2018 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

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 alter

Adjective

borrowed from Latin adulterātus — more at adulterate entry 1

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Statistics for adulterate

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce adulterate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce adulterate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce adulterator (audio) \ noun

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adulterate

transitive verb
adul·​ter·​ate | \ ə-ˈdəl-tə-ˌrāt How to pronounce adulterate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce adulteration (audio) \ noun
adulterator \ ə-​ˈdəl-​tə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce adulterator (audio) \ noun

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Comments on adulterate

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