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

Five months after the fire, French authorities have refused to fully disclose the results of their testing for lead contamination, sowing public confusion, while issuing reassuring statements intended to play down the risks., "Alarming lead levels seen after fire at Notre Dame - The Boston Globe," 15 Sep. 2019 The city suffers from systemic problems such as mercury contamination, violence, and alcohol abuse, but one issue in particular has drawn researchers to the settlement for years: the city’s thin air. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Mountain-moving climate change, an oxygen-starved city, and rats playing hide-and-seek," 13 Sep. 2019 Veterinarians and pathologists have ruled out salmonella, rat poison, and food contamination, The Guardian reported. Fox News, "Mysterious disease that has killed nearly two dozen dogs in Norway has officials racing for answers," 10 Sep. 2019 By the late 1990s, officials became worried that a dam that was holding back the tailings could fail and leave destruction downstream in addition to the chemical contamination. Washington Post, "Where a mine supplied a nascent nation, cleanup nears end," 7 Sep. 2019 The Ellington well found to have high PFAS levels is apparently the third drinking water source in Connecticut confirmed to have that type of chemical contamination. Gregory B. Hladky,, "New tests show PFAS pollution leaking from Hartford and Ellington landfills," 15 Aug. 2019 The official was referring to the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, which released radioactive airborne contamination for about nine days. Reuters, The Mercury News, "US experts think a recent Russia accident involved nukes," 9 Aug. 2019 Of those, 2,620 sites indicated potentially unsafe levels of fecal contamination for swimming on at least one day, and 605 were potentially unsafe at least 25% of the days that sampling took place in 2018. USA TODAY, "Leaping frogs, spiny lobsters, hostile roosters: News from around our 50 states," 26 July 2019 Official Iraqi government statistics put the chemical contamination of Basra’s water at 100 percent, and the bacterial pollution at 50 percent. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "The violent protests in Iraq, explained," 8 Sep. 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

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

7 Oct 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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