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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The vaccine-preventable liver disease is spread by direct person-to-person contact, or from food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with the disease. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis forms partnership with feds to tackle Hepatitis A outbreak," 3 July 2019 In the previous decade, thousands of people had been given blood contaminated with HIV—most of them before the link between blood, HIV, and AIDS was fully understood. Alex Whiting, Quartz, "How France is convincing its citizens to get vaccinated," 26 June 2019 Also in June, Johnsonville recalled about 95,393 lbs. of sausages that may have been contaminated with plastic material. Hannah Chubb, PEOPLE.com, "Costco and Kroger Recall Frozen Berries Because of Hepatitis A Contamination," 17 June 2019 Consumers of bear bile run the risk of ingesting bile from sick bears, which can be contaminated with blood, feces, pus, urine, and bacteria. National Geographic, "Bear bile, explained," 12 June 2019 Just laying the foundation took another year, a delay exacerbated by the discovery of underground ductwork contaminated with asbestos. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "How Can It Take 15 Years and $32 Million to Build a Neighborhood Library?," 29 Mar. 2018 Today the area remains one of the most contaminated by radiation in the world. Josefin Dolsten, sun-sentinel.com, "Former lawmaker hopes HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ spurs change in Israel," 26 June 2019 As for the offices that are still behind the times: If otherwise healthy workers seem to fall prey to contaminated food with shocking regularity, take note. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Why you should never tell the boss you have food poisoning," 21 June 2019 If the water used to irrigate a field has animal feces in it, the water can contaminate the food growing in that field, for example. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "Pillsbury’s flour recall serves as a devastating reminder that cookie dough is dangerous," 17 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contaminate

Listen to Our Podcast about contaminate

Statistics for contaminate

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contaminate

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on contaminate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!