con·​tam·​i·​na·​tion | \kən-ˌta-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Definition of contamination 

1 : a process of contaminating : a state of being contaminated

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Examples of contamination in a Sentence

swimming in the lake is banned until the contamination is identified and neutralized

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Her political work emerges from years of frustration trying to persuade state and federal regulators and Range Resources, the local fracking behemoth, to acknowledge and do something about the slow poisoning of her family by fracking contamination. Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism policing, said 100 detectives are working as quickly as possible to identify the source of the recent contamination. William Booth, Anchorage Daily News, "Woman exposed to nerve agent in southern England dies; police launch murder investigation," 9 July 2018 Unsure of how far-ranging the radioactive contamination went, authorities fenced off 18.6-mile diameter around the reactor zone as an off-limits, exclusionary zone. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Chernobyl is Turning Into a Wildlife Preserve for Wolves," 1 July 2018 The study also found participants struggled at keeping items in the kitchen free from contamination. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Most people don't wash their hands correctly, USDA study," 29 June 2018 Shoppers also increasingly want to know where their food came from, a factor thrown into sharp relief by contamination episodes like the deadly E. coli outbreak this spring linked to romaine lettuce, which rippled through the U.S. food supply chain. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "BrightFarms Raises $55 Million in New Funding Round," 28 June 2018 Only in July 2016 did the city alert residents to the lead contamination, and that warning came in a letter that required eleven hundred people to immediately move from the area. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "How Lead Poisoned People of Color in East Chicago and Beyond," 23 Feb. 2018 This concept of preventing biological contamination of the Solar System is known as planetary protection. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA needs to update its rules on how to keep the Solar System clean, report says," 5 July 2018 However, China still allows bales of plastic with less than 0.5 percent contamination in for recycling. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "China’s Plastic Ban Will Flood Us With Trash," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contamination.' 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 contamination

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

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

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More Definitions for contamination


con·​tam·​i·​na·​tion | \kən-ˌtam-ə-ˈnā-shən \

Medical Definition of contamination 

1 : a process of contaminating : a state of being contaminated

2 : something that contaminates

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