con·​tam·​i·​nant | \kən-ˈta-mə-nənt \

Definition of contaminant 

: something that contaminates

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Examples of contaminant in a Sentence

a filter to remove contaminants from the drinking water

Recent Examples on the Web

This device creates a physical barrier between your mouth, nose, and contaminants in the environment, including fine particles, the Food and Drug Administration says. Korin Miller, SELF, "How to Stay Safe When Your City’s Air Quality Is Dangerous," 21 Aug. 2018 In the park’s first couple weeks, some have expressed concern over water quality because rainfall can leave contaminants in the water for days. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "Part of San Pedro Creek Culture Park closes because people won’t stop swimming in it," 2 June 2018 Another concern is that rainwater that soaks into the landfill will find its way into the pond at the foot of the landfill, carrying contaminants from the landfill material with it. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Greendale concerns about Ballpark Commons addressed? Franklin says yes," 11 Jan. 2018 Does the Green Good Housekeeping Seal protect consumers against unknown harmful contaminants in products? Good Housekeeping, "About the Green Good Housekeeping Seal," 1 Nov. 2011 But in no time at all, that river swelled with contaminants. Richard Horan, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Poisoned City' tells the horrific story of Flint's contaminated water," 10 July 2018 New wells were put in to function like drinking straws, pulling the water up and away, avoiding the contaminants. Alicia Acuna, Fox News, "Colorado town hopes to strike gold by converting abandoned mine into fresh water reservoir," 3 July 2018 But if GenX is in the water, something a person might use every day, then the exposure to the contaminant could be different. Ken Otterbourg, Fortune, "Teflon’s River of Fear," 24 May 2018 The tedious and sometimes dangerous work of separating out that detritus at processing plants in China prompted officials there to slash the contaminants limit this year to 0.5%. Bob Tita, WSJ, "Recycling, Once Embraced by Businesses and Environmentalists, Now Under Siege," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contaminant.' 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 contaminant

1922, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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The first known use of contaminant was in 1922

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English Language Learners Definition of contaminant

: something that makes a place or a substance (such as water, air, or food) no longer suitable for use : something that contaminates a place or substance


con·​tam·​i·​nant | \kən-ˈtam-ə-nənt \

Medical Definition of contaminant 

: something that contaminates

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Comments on contaminant

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


by force of circumstances

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