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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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 Large producers operate under strict rules to prevent contamination; small local farmers may not adhere to the same constraints. New York Times, "How to Minimize the Risk of Food Poisoning," 28 May 2018 Inspectors told the business to provide an effective hair restraint that covers body hair to prevent contamination. Carolina Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Inspectors call out Karbach restaurant employee for unhygienic practice while handling food," 11 Apr. 2018 But contamination in the U.S SPR could throw a wrench into the whole plan. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S Sold Contaminated Crude Oil From Its Strategic Reserve—Report," 29 Mar. 2018 Proper drug disposal also helps to prevent the contamination of local landfills and water supplies from unused medication. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Snellville police receive grant for drug collection site," 29 Mar. 2018 The Washington law requires drug makers to fully finance and operate the program, which is designed to lower the threat of drug abuse stemming from medicines that linger in households and also reduce contamination in drinking water. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Washington state has the first comprehensive drug take-back program. Which state will be next?," 28 Mar. 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

23 Sep 2018

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

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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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