Definition of contaminate
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
contaminativeplay \kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnā-tiv\ adjective
contaminatorplay \kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnā-tər\ noun
contaminate was our Word of the Day on 01/24/2012. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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.
Recent Examples of contaminate from the Web
Operations of the Lindsay Light and Chemical Co., which was located in Streeterville, left the DuSable site contaminated with thorium.
The impoundment is the result of discussions among the town, Harford County and the Maryland Department of the Environment regarding the need to have a backup water supply for the town in case of a drought or a disaster that contaminates the stream.
Cholera, a highly contagious malady spread by water contaminated with human waste, can cause fatal dehydration if left untreated.
Two Japanese workers died, neighboring towns were contaminated with radiation, and industries essential to the region’s economy were disrupted.
The highly contagious disease is transmitted through water or food that has been contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium.
The Indiana State Department of Health first flagged the site as contaminated in 1985 and forced the USS Lead facility to close.
An ingredient supplier notified the FDA that their ingredient could be contaminated with listeria.
The site of the former Velsicol Chemical Corp. there remains among the most contaminated anywhere.
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.
Synonym Discussion of contaminate
CONTAMINATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contaminate for English Language Learners
: to make (something) dangerous, dirty, or impure by adding something harmful or undesirable to it
CONTAMINATE Defined for Kids
Definition of contaminate for Students
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.
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
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).