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

Other Words from infect

infector \ in-​ˈfek-​tər How to pronounce infect (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 More than 50 distinct adenoviruses are known to infect humans, but they're typically associated with respiratory, eye, and sometimes gastrointestinal and disseminated infections. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2022 The agents reportedly handed him a USB and instructed him to insert it into his ex-wife’s computer to infect it with spyware. Time, 24 Mar. 2022 Coronaviruses that are known to infect humans were first identified in the 1960s, and among them are four circulating strains that cause common colds. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, 21 Mar. 2022 New strains are also known to infect and encrypt online, shadow and offline backups. Stu Sjouwerman, Forbes, 11 June 2021 Every so often, an animal would infect a person, that person would spread the virus to some close contacts, and another minor outbreak would form, then fizzle out. Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, 9 June 2022 The disease and parasites from the corpse would then infect the live person and slowly kill him. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 4 June 2022 Members of this order can infect arthropods other than ticks, plants, protozoans, and vertebrates. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 3 June 2022 The virus can infect a wide variety of species, including primates and rodents, which are generally responsible for passing the disease onto humans. Ashley Stimpson, Popular Mechanics, 25 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of infect

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

History and Etymology for infect

Middle English infecten, enfecten "to inflict with disease, pollute, damage, corrupt," borrowed from Latin infectus, past participle of inficere "to dye, discolor, impregnate, taint, contaminate with disease," from in- in- entry 2 + facere "to make, bring about, perform, do" — more at fact

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Time Traveler for infect

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near infect

infeasible

infect

infected

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Statistics for infect

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Infect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infect. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for infect

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.

infect

transitive verb
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

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