con·​tam·​i·​nat·​ed kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnā-təd How to pronounce contaminated (audio)
: soiled, stained, corrupted, or infected by contact or association
a contaminated wound
Urine and feces of infected cats and contaminated clothing, bedding, food bowls or toys are also possible modes of transmission.Cat Fancy
: made unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements
Botulinum toxin is a highly lethal substance which causes death, even in developed countries, when contaminated food is improperly canned or stored.John Laffin
… the material could be used as a filter for cleaning contaminated drinking water.Alexandra Goho

Examples of contaminated in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During a yearslong cleanup of the Libby rail yard that began in 2003, crews excavated nearly the entire yard, removing about 18,000 tons of contaminated soil. Matthew Brown and Amy Beth Hanson, Quartz, 7 Apr. 2024 McNelly and others have criticized the limitations of Wisconsin's well compensation program, which offers funding to replace a contaminated well but requires that a person have livestock and a nitrate level of 40 mg/L — four times the safe drinking water standard — to be able to access the funds. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 3 Apr. 2024 Kaila Austin wants to turn a contaminated wasteland that’s been polluted for nearly a century back into a lush expanse of nature for generations of Norwood Place residents to enjoy. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 20 Mar. 2024 The California Department of Public Health has long endorsed handing out sterile syringes as a proven way to prevent dangerous infections from running rampant when people share contaminated syringes. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2024 Compressor stalls can be caused by a number of factors, including a foreign-object damage like bird strike, or a worn, dirty or contaminated compressor component. Tom Costello, NBC News, 7 Mar. 2024 The respiratory virus transmits through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected people, which can land directly on someone else’s nose or mouth or be spread through touching contaminated surfaces. Katia Hetter, CNN, 14 Mar. 2024 The Pentagon has the authority under the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act — better known as the Superfund Act — to clean up its own contaminated sites. Zoya Teirstein / Grist, Quartz, 14 Mar. 2024 The legislation cuts the EPA’s budget by nearly 10 percent — almost $1 billion — including a massive funding decrease to the agency’s contaminated site management program, called Superfund. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contaminated.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from past participle of contaminate

First Known Use

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contaminated was in 1576

Dictionary Entries Near contaminated

Cite this Entry

“Contaminated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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