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

befoul, defile, foul, poison, pollute, taint

Antonyms

decontaminate, purify

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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

Cantor, the West Hartford Mayor, focused on the remediation of the former campus, which is contaminated with toxic PCBs. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "Ideanomics halts work on planned 'Fintech Village’ on site of former UConn campus in West Hartford, citing differences with Lamont administration," 13 June 2019 The property was used for industrial operations until 1987, and was contaminated with chloroform, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and PCBs, according to a release announcing the grant. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Approval of long-awaited EPA brownfield cleanup funds 'a key turning point' for Waukegan's south lakefront," 6 June 2019 The virus is most often spread by close contact with the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with objects such as sheets that have been contaminated. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Why 2nd-worst Ebola outbreak is growing concern," 13 Apr. 2019 The main cause of a salmonella infection is the consumption of food that has been contaminated with feces, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "Everything You Need to Know About Salmonella," 2 May 2019 Mission managers programmed this suicide dive to ensure that the low-on-fuel Cassini never contaminated Enceladus or Titan with microbes from Earth. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Saturn's Icy Moon Dione Shines in Stunning Cassini Photo," 12 Mar. 2018 Brownfields are property that might be contaminated by hazardous materials, pollutants or other contaminants. Mary Shanklin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Publix gets brownfield tax aid for Oviedo, Orlando sites," 2 Dec. 2017 Waste in landfills can also contaminate water if the landfills aren’t designed with leachate in mind. Teen Vogue, "Environmental Science Is Crucial to Combat Climate Change — So Why Isn't It a Mandatory Class?," 29 Apr. 2019 The most common way people get these tapeworms is by accidentally eating dirt, water, or food that’s been contaminated by infected dog poop, according to the CDC. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Woman’s ‘Electric Shock’ Leg Pain Was Caused By a Parasite in Her Back," 2 Aug. 2018

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, from Latin contaminatus, past participle of contaminare; akin to Latin contingere to have contact with — more at contingent

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Statistics for contaminate

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for contaminate

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

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

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