contaminate

verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Definition of contaminate

transitive verb

1a : 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
2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements water contaminated by sewage

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Other Words from contaminate

contaminative \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce contaminative (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce contaminator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contaminate

Synonyms

befoul, defile, foul, poison, pollute, taint

Antonyms

decontaminate, purify

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of contaminate in a Sentence

Be careful not to allow bacteria to contaminate the wound. Don't touch the microchip or the oil on your hands will contaminate it. Make sure the white paint is not contaminated by any of the other colors.
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Recent Examples on the Web

According to a new study, neonicotinoids can kill beneficial insects such as honey bees, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps by contaminating honeydew, a sugar-rich liquid excreted by certain insects. Katie Camero, Science | AAAS, "This tiny insect could be delivering toxic pesticides to honey bees and other beneficial bugs," 5 Aug. 2019 Micronesian officials have long complained of degradation from climate change, as rising sea levels erode coastlines, threaten the lifeline industry of fishing, contaminate drinking water with salty ocean water and trigger ever fiercer storms. Los Angeles Times, "Micronesia reaffirms U.S. support while Australia hesitates to join campaign against Iran," 5 Aug. 2019 In temperatures exceeding 800 Celsius (1,472 Fahrenheit), gobbets of fluid metal splashed and contaminated the church’s stonework throughout. Feargus O'sullivan, WIRED, "The Notre Dame Fire Spread Toxic Lead Dust Over Paris," 1 Aug. 2019 Fire blight is difficult to control and can be spread by insects, splashing rain or contaminated pruning tools. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "How to fight fire blight in crabapple trees," 1 Aug. 2019 Many businesses as well as government offices had to shut down as the city issued a notice to boil contaminated water before consuming it. Marcia Heroux Pounds, sun-sentinel.com, "Businesses sue FPL and contractor for losses in water crisis," 29 July 2019 Environmentalists fear waste from the mines could contaminate the area’s watersheds. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "St. Paul team swims and paddles Boundary Waters in mine protest," 27 July 2019 Occasional cases are linked to contaminated food and travel abroad. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "Threat of hepatitis A outbreak among Denver’s homeless prompts a massive response," 26 July 2019 The bloom affects Toledo to the islands, contaminating drinking water, and turning it pea green. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland.com, "EPA announces new program designed to clean up Great Lakes," 19 July 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contaminate

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

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Statistics for contaminate

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for contaminate

The first known use of contaminate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for contaminate

contaminate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of contaminate

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

contaminate

verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Kids Definition of contaminate

1 : to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association The wound was contaminated by bacteria.
2 : to make unfit for use by adding something harmful or unpleasant The water is contaminated with chemicals.

contaminate

transitive verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈtam-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Medical Definition of contaminate

1 : to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association bacteria contaminated the wound
2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements water contaminated by sewage

Other Words from contaminate

contaminative \ -​ˌnāt-​iv How to pronounce contaminative (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ -​ˌnāt-​ər How to pronounce contaminator (audio) \ noun

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