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

Synonyms & Antonyms for contaminate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 With too many to replant in the wild, and faced with the risk that doing so might contaminate the remaining wild populations, authorities are now hoping to keep as many alive as possible until a long-term decision is made about what to do with them. New York Times, 31 July 2021 With too many to replant in the wild, and faced with the risk that doing so might contaminate the remaining wild populations, authorities are now hoping to keep as many alive as possible until a long-term decision is made about what to do with them. BostonGlobe.com, 31 July 2021 McHugh said mentioning the mass shooting and Ussery’s beliefs would contaminate the jury. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, 26 May 2021 First, an infected worker would need to contaminate the food or its packaging with a virus load high enough to cause an infection -- possibly by sneezing, coughing or shouting over it without a face mask. Nectar Gan, CNN, 13 Nov. 2020 But if these mesh screen vent caps aren't inspected and maintained properly, even tiny insects can enter the tower and contaminate the water supply and make consumers sick. USA Today, 21 May 2021 Spessard attested to the fact that using unclean implements or surfaces can contaminate DNA evidence. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, 11 May 2021 Failing septic tanks contaminate soil and groundwater. Chelsea Wald, Wired, 18 Apr. 2021 Mold can be serious if airborne spores contaminate the vaccine substance. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2021

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 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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near contaminate

contaminant

contaminate

contaminated

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contaminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contaminate. Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on contaminate

Nglish: Translation of contaminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contaminate for Arabic Speakers

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