dis·​tain | \ dis-ˈtān How to pronounce distain (audio) \
distained; distaining; distains

Definition of distain

transitive verb

1 archaic : stain
2 archaic : dishonor

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for distain


befoul, begrime, bemire, besmirch, blacken, daub, dirty, foul, gaum [dialect], grime, mire, muck, muddy, smirch, smudge, soil, stain, sully


clean, cleanse

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of distain in a Sentence

weary soldiers with hands distained with blood

First Known Use of distain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for distain

Middle English disteynen, from Anglo-French desteindre to take away the color of, from de- + teindre to dye, from Latin tingere to wet, dye — more at tinge

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about distain

Statistics for distain

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distain

The first known use of distain was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on distain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with distain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for distain

Comments on distain

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


to boil down or concentrate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!