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

Examples of contamination in a Sentence

swimming in the lake is banned until the contamination is identified and neutralized
Recent Examples on the Web Problems included the contamination of vaccine ingredients, as well as equipment failures and employee errors, the report said. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 10 May 2022 The plant never won formal authorization from federal drug regulators for the manufacturing lines and last year was forced to pause production of vaccines for three months as inspectors assessed potential cross-contamination of the products. Meredith Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 10 May 2022 Cross-contamination of coronavirus vaccines being made for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca was discovered in March 2021. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 The agency’s assessment of soil and groundwater samples taken in the cities of Kølvrå and Nord Felding, where the mink graves were located, later in March 2022 revealed no risk of contamination of drinking water or nearby streams in the two areas. Daniela De Lorenzo, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 The contamination of the bowls in Group C increased between swabbings. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 10 Apr. 2022 Ukrainians were worried about contamination of their food, water, air and even leaves on the trees. Dr. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Mar. 2022 Federal auditors announced an investigation Friday of how the government has dealt with lead contamination of drinking water in Benton Harbor, an impoverished, mostly Black city in southwest Michigan. John Flesher, Detroit Free Press, 19 Feb. 2022 Eradicating more than a century of contamination of Waukegan Harbor’s water is a 30-year project so far, and the local share of $1 billion from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan for Great Lakes restoration will pay for the rest. Steve Sadin,, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contamination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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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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