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

Antonyms

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 Opponents have argued the pipeline could contaminate drinking water and destroy burial and prayer sites of Native Americans. Matt Egan, CNN, "Judge orders temporary shutdown of controversial Dakota Access Pipeline," 6 July 2020 The tribes also warn that Trump’s push for fireworks at the event, which have been banned at the site for more than a decade, could result in wildfires and contaminate the water in the surrounding Black Hills. Colby Itkowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump to hold holiday event as virus surges," 3 July 2020 The true number is likely much higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that asymptomatic patients, people who can be infected and not feel sick, easily contaminate their surroundings. Fox News, "Texas hospital COVID-19 leader: 'This surge has moved to more of an under 50 population'," 30 June 2020 At a time when people worry about their own risk of infection, Lisa Pratt is working to make sure that life on Earth doesn’t contaminate the rest of the solar system. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Lisa Pratt Is Out to Save the Worlds," 26 June 2020 The droplets can contaminate nearby surfaces, like the toilet handle and toilet paper dispenser, and even be inhaled by other people in the restroom, according to the paper. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Watch out for public toilets: Coronavirus could splash out, scientists say," 16 June 2020 Placing a person who's died in an un-refrigerated environment leads to quicker decomposition, and bodily fluids loaded with virus and bacteria could contaminate any area where they are stored, Eichenlaub explained. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Sinai-Grace nurses file lawsuit, allege patients died because hospital was short-staffed," 11 June 2020 In legal proceedings, the tribe’s lawyers had argued that a previous assessment failed to consider how the pipeline could contaminate drinking water. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Trump’s latest executive order could let industry shirk environmental responsibility," 9 June 2020 There are about 56,000 orphan wells across the U.S., Lowenthal said, which can leak methane and other pollutants that can contaminate air and water. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Top State official says clean energy fate hinges on securing supply of metals and minerals," 2 June 2020

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 contaminaten, borrowed from Latin contāminātus, past participle of contāmināre "to defile, pollute," from con- con- + -tāmināre, verbal derivative of *tāmen "touching, contact," going back to *tāg-(s)men, from tag-, variant stem of tangere "to touch" + *-(s)men, noun suffix of result — more at tangent entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contaminate

Time Traveler for contaminate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about contaminate

Statistics for contaminate

Last Updated

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contaminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contaminate. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for contaminate

contaminate

verb
How to pronounce contaminate (audio)

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!