de·​con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ ˌdē-kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce decontaminate (audio) \
decontaminated; decontaminating; decontaminates

Definition of decontaminate

transitive verb

: to rid of contamination (such as radioactive material)

Other Words from decontaminate

decontamination \ ˌdē-​kən-​ˌta-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce decontaminate (audio) \ noun
decontaminator \ ˌdē-​kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce decontaminate (audio) \ noun

Examples of decontaminate in a Sentence

Special workers were called in to decontaminate the area after the oil spill.
Recent Examples on the Web The jail also was closed temporarily so a hazmat team could decontaminate the area, prosecutors say. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 29 Oct. 2021 Work on securing the cathedral was temporarily paused during the coronavirus pandemic last year and work was carried out to decontaminate the area of lead before work resumed in June 2020. Joseph Ataman, CNN, 18 Sep. 2021 Lab officials approved a $50,000 contract for BioClean, a remediation vendor, to decontaminate the space. Lewis Kamb, Star Tribune, 31 July 2021 Locally, Essentia, Health Partners, M Health Fairview, and Mayo Clinic have stopped using devices or chemicals to decontaminate single-use masks. Joe Carlson, Star Tribune, 2 May 2021 The technology will likely be ported to other aircraft, and could be useful to decontaminate aircraft exposed to dangerous chemical agents. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 12 May 2021 The system has stopped using ultraviolet light to decontaminate the respirators. Joe Carlson, Star Tribune, 2 May 2021 Inspectors found peeling paint and unidentified black and brown residue on the floors and walls, as well as a failure to properly decontaminate waste generated during the manufacture of the vaccine drug substance. NBC News, 21 Apr. 2021 Or a device that could easily decontaminate the air of dangerous pathogens such as the coronavirus that leads to COVID-19? Laura Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Apr. 2021

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

1936, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of decontaminate was in 1936

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“Decontaminate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for decontaminate



English Language Learners Definition of decontaminate

: to remove dirty or dangerous substances (such as radioactive material) from (a person, thing, place, etc.)


transitive verb
de·​con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ ˌdē-kən-ˈtam-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce decontaminate (audio) \
decontaminated; decontaminating

Medical Definition of decontaminate

: to rid of contamination (as radioactive material)

Other Words from decontaminate

decontamination \ -​ˌtam-​ə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce decontaminate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on decontaminate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decontaminate

Britannica English: Translation of decontaminate for Arabic Speakers


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