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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from decontaminate

decontamination \ ˌdē-​kən-​ˌta-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce decontamination (audio) \ noun
decontaminator \ ˌdē-​kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce decontaminator (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 City authorities say all schools are expected to be decontaminated before children return to school in early September. Washington Post, "World Digest: Aug. 13, 2019," 13 Aug. 2019 An Orange County Health Care Agency hazardous-materials team was called to help collect evidence and decontaminate the scene, Bennett said. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "H.B. man is arrested after probation search reveals bags of fentanyl, police say," 10 Sep. 2019 Their clothes were removed, and they were decontaminated by the fire department with showers. Dallas News, "It's been a year. So, what actually happened when mercury spilled in the Coppell mail center?," 10 Aug. 2019 Several hundred protesters started blocking access to the landfill 10 days ago, demanding it be decontaminated. Washington Post, "Bosnian city of Mostar awash in trash amid landfill protest," 19 June 2019 Some of the streets around Notre Dame Cathedral will be decontaminated to ensure locals and workers are not exposed to unsafe levels of lead following the April blaze that left the Paris historic landmark gutted. Fox News, "Notre Dame cathedral's surrounding streets to be decontaminated of lead," 13 Aug. 2019 Unlike a neat and tidy factory, where robots can be programmed to undertake repetitive tasks without any surprises, decontaminating an old nuclear site requires the ability to operate in an unstructured environment. The Economist, "Cleaning up nuclear waste is an obvious task for robots," 20 June 2019 A few days after Landu decontaminated Mwenze’s house, her employment contract with the World Health Organisation came to an end. Sally Hayden, Time, "Inside the Battle to Save Congo From the Ebola Crisis," 19 June 2019 At least 63 farmworkers may have been affected, and a hazardous materials team was called to decontaminate the workers by rinsing them off in the vineyard, Tucker said. Alejandra Reyes-velarde,, "63 farmworkers treated after insecticide sprayed in nearby field sickens some," 19 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of decontaminate

1936, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about decontaminate

Statistics for decontaminate

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for decontaminate

The first known use of decontaminate was in 1936

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for decontaminate


How to pronounce decontaminate (audio)

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 decontamination (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on decontaminate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decontaminate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decontaminate

Spanish Central: Translation of decontaminate

Britannica English: Translation of decontaminate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on decontaminate

What made you want to look up decontaminate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!