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 contaminative (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce contaminator (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 And a combination of hand washing and not touching your face will help prevent you from accidentally contaminating your eyes. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "You can catch coronavirus through your eyes. A virologist fears that's how he got it.," 15 May 2020 Ask for movers to wear gloves to avoid contaminating your belongings. Houston Apartment Association, Houston Chronicle, "What should area apartment residents should be aware of during COVID-19 outbreak?," 9 May 2020 In fact, reading the Boston papers during the week of the World Series one could hardly tell that a mutant virus had already contaminated the city. Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "When Babe Ruth and the Great Influenza Gripped Boston," 30 Apr. 2020 Higher concentrations were found in rooms where medical staff remove protective equipment, which may imply that particles contaminating their gear became airborne again when masks, gloves and gowns are removed. Fox News, "Coronavirus lingers in the air of crowded spaces, study finds," 28 Apr. 2020 In West Virginia, the underground Martinka mine owned by ERP requires almost $1 million annually to pump out and treat groundwater that would contaminate the drinking water of thousands of people. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Coal’s collapse could lead to a landscape of abandoned mines," 23 Apr. 2020 Mushrooms are being used at the local level to help clean up toxic debris and contaminated soil — a process known as mycoremediation — but so far have not been adopted on a larger scale. NBC News, "Is fungus the answer to climate change? Student who grew a mushroom canoe says yes.," 18 Apr. 2020 Today in a minute Striped bass, now contaminated: That’s the case on North Carolina’s Cape Fear River, Nat Geo’s Sarah Gibbens reports. National Geographic, "Picnic with a View," 25 Mar. 2020 That release resulted in some residents unknowingly drinking water for years that was contaminated. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What you should know about PFAS, or 'forever' chemicals, contaminating drinking water in parts of Wisconsin," 27 Apr. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for contaminate

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

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Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contaminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contaminate. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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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

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