con·​tam·​i·​na·​tion | \ kən-ˌta-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce contamination (audio) \

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

Recent Examples on the Web

In January, the food company announced a voluntary recall of the same bags over fears of salmonella contamination. Georgia Slater,, "Gold Medal Flour Is Being Recalled Over Possible E. Coli Contamination," 17 Sep. 2019 Testing never did pinpoint the exact source of contamination, though the fair’s petting zoo and pony rides were ruled out. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Missed phone calls, changing stories: How E. coli spread at the San Diego County Fair," 17 Sep. 2019 Robertson offered no evidence of contamination; nor did California regulators when offered the opportunity to respond to The Times before the publication of the article. Joe Drape, New York Times, "Horse Racing’s Tough Year Keeps Getting Tougher," 15 Sep. 2019 The Green River, like many other waterways, is also in danger of contamination. Max Holleran, The New Republic, "The Water Wars Are Here," 13 Sep. 2019 The prison’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system was shut down to prevent the spread of possible contamination. oregonlive, "Oregon prison building evacuated after powdery substance found in envelope," 11 Sep. 2019 Last month specialists shoring up the fire-damaged to the Paris site for the first time in nearly a month, this time wearing disposable underwear and other protective gear after a delay prompted by fears of lead contamination. Fox News, "Notre Dame fire: New images show scale of destruction as experts eye iconic building's future," 6 Sep. 2019 More than 9 million gallons of contamination came from a sewer outfall immediately downstream from the governor’s residence on the banks of the Susquehanna, the report said. Scott Dance,, "It’s not just Baltimore: Another city is sending much more sewage into the Chesapeake Bay, report says," 22 Aug. 2019 Another source of contamination there is the estimated 48 million clay targets that were used for skeet shooting over the marsh. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Connecticut’s largest saltmarsh to be restored using Superfund money," 20 Aug. 2019

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

History and Etymology for contamination

Middle English contaminacioun, borrowed from Latin contāminātiōn-, contāminātiō "defilement, pollution," from contāmināre "to defile, pollute" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at contaminate

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Statistics for contamination

Last Updated

23 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for contamination

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 How to pronounce contamination (audio) \

Medical Definition of contamination

1 : a process of contaminating : a state of being contaminated
2 : something that contaminates

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