infect

verb
in·​fect | \ in-ˈfekt How to pronounce infect (audio) \
infected; infecting; infects

Definition of infect

transitive verb

1 : to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (such as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration
c of a computer virus : to become transmitted and copied to (a device, such as a computer)
3a : contaminate, corrupt the inflated writing that infects such stories
b : to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from infect

infector \ in-​ˈfek-​tər How to pronounce infector (audio) \ noun

Examples of infect in a Sentence

If you're sick you should stay home to avoid infecting other people in the office. The virus has infected many people. They were unable to prevent bacteria from infecting the wound. Her enthusiasm has infected everyone. The virus has infected many computers. All the computers in the office were infected by the same virus.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

A month later, the WannaCry worm repurposed Eternal Blue and ended up infecting computers all over the world in a matter of hours. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Microsoft practically begs Windows users to fix wormable BlueKeep flaw," 31 May 2019 The long answer: Drogo was wounded during a fight with another Khal, dismissed it as a cut, but the wound began to get infected. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "All the Game of Thrones Deaths We've Somehow Made It Through," 19 May 2019 This happens when an untreated STI like gonorrhea or chlamydia infects reproductive organs, possibly leading to infertility. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Here’s Why Doctors Don’t Usually Test for Herpes," 10 May 2019 Health workers have struggled to get sick people to seek treatment in health centers, resulting in those with Ebola infecting others as a result. Al-hadji Kudra Maliro, The Seattle Times, "Delayed Congo legislative vote begins in Ebola-hit areas," 31 Mar. 2019 In this case, Russian hackers apparently used VPNFilter malware—the same that infected half a million routers in May—to try to disrupt the operations at the plant, which provides clean water throughout the country. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Security Roundup: Ukraine Blocked a Russian Hack of Its Critical Infrastructure," 14 July 2018 The losing mentality that infects the clubhouse has recently become obvious by a series of fundamental lapses and defensive breakdowns that almost never showed up during the first five years of the Dan Duquette-Buck Showalter competitive revival. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: During season on the brink, Orioles are losing the head games, too," 14 July 2018 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a popular Kellogg's cereal has been linked to a salmonella outbreak that has infected 100 people in 33 states. CBS News, "CDC warning on Kellogg's Honey Smacks: "Do not eat this cereal"," 13 July 2018 One cause: Microscopic tracheal mites that infect the breathing tubes of bees, reducing their air flow, making them less efficient workers. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Why are these 250,000 bees hanging out on this sweet Downtown Boise rooftop?," 11 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for infect

Middle English, from Latin infectus, past participle of inficere, from in- + facere to make, do — more at do

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about infect

Statistics for infect

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for infect

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for infect

infect

verb

English Language Learners Definition of infect

: to cause (someone or something) to become sick or affected by disease
: to cause (someone) to feel an emotion
of an emotion : to spread to (other people)

infect

verb
in·​fect | \ in-ˈfekt How to pronounce infect (audio) \
infected; infecting

Kids Definition of infect

1 : to pass on or introduce a germ, illness, or disease to : to cause sickness in Don't infect me with your cold. The bacteria can infect wounds.
2 : to cause to share similar feelings Her enthusiasm infects the other players.
in·​fect | \ in-ˈfekt How to pronounce infect (audio) \

Medical Definition of infect

1 : to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration — compare infest

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on infect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with infect

Spanish Central: Translation of infect

Nglish: Translation of infect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of infect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on infect

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

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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