stain

verb
\ ˈstān \
stained; staining; stains

Definition of stain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to suffuse with color
2 : discolor, soil
3a : taint sense 3 a conscience stained with guilt
b : to bring discredit on the scandal stained his reputation
4 : to color (something, such as wood, glass, or cloth) by processes affecting chemically or otherwise the material itself

intransitive verb

: to receive a stain

stain

noun

Definition of stain (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a soiled or discolored spot
b : a natural spot of color contrasting with the ground
2 : a taint of guilt : stigma
3 : a preparation (as of dye or pigment) used in staining: such as
a : a dye or pigment capable of penetrating the pores of wood
b : a dye or mixture of dyes used in microscopy to make visible minute and transparent structures, to differentiate tissue elements, or to produce specific chemical reactions

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Other Words from stain

Verb

stainable \ ˈstā-​nə-​bəl \ adjective
stainer \ ˈstā-​nər \ noun

Noun

stainproof \ ˈstān-​ˌprüf \ adjective

Synonyms for stain

Synonyms: Verb

blemish, darken, mar, poison, spoil, taint, tarnish, touch, vitiate

Synonyms: Noun

blot, brand, onus, slur, smirch, smudge, spot, stigma, taint

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Examples of stain in a Sentence

Verb

The red wine stained the carpet. He stained the wood a dark cherry color. The accusations stained his reputation.

Noun

There's a juice stain on the floor. She has a stain on her shirt. Will those grass stains wash out?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The cases exposed a culture of back scratching and crude banter between traders carrying out customer orders and stained the reputations of some of the world’s largest banks. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Major Banks Suspected of Collusion in Bond-Rigging Probe," 20 Dec. 2018 Chris, meanwhile, lives and works in Seattle — where tents are pitched on street corners and beneath underpasses, constant evidence of a homeless crisis staining his second home. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "After his family lost their house, Seahawks’ Chris Carson vows to fight homelessness in Seattle," 7 Nov. 2018 This was how Nine Inch Nails delivered the band’s then-new album: as something that might stain you. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Nine Inch Nails Is Still Pushing the Sound of Catharsis," 22 June 2018 That poop stains the ground and, well, just about everything. Brian Resnick, Vox, "You can join the scientific quest to track penguin poop from space. It could help protect the species.," 12 Dec. 2018 Yes, concrete can scratch and stain, but so can pretty much every other material, including granite and marble. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Concrete Countertops: Is the Home Trend All It's Cracked up to Be?," 12 Dec. 2018 The Issue: Mildew If the grout is mildewed or badly stained, mix a 50/50 solution of oxygen bleach and water, and apply it with a sponge or pump-up sprayer. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clean Dirty Grout," 5 Dec. 2018 The Irish church's reputation is stained by cases of pedophile priests and systematic abuse cover-ups. Fox News, "U2 frontman Bono says pope's 'aghast' about church sex abuse," 19 Sep. 2018 Made of oak hardwood, the risers, treads, and handrail are stained in contrasting tones. Joan Walden, courant.com, "288 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since grout can absorb soap as much as a stain, the TCNA says not to use Murphy's Oil soap, Pine Sol, or any product that will leave a waxy or oily film. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "Doing This To "Clean" Your Grout Is Actually Causing Damage," 6 Nov. 2018 The Korematsu case has long been considered a judicial stain on the country’s history. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "1944 Korematsu opinion on Japanese American internment is tossed out," 26 June 2018 The driving ban had been a stain on the country’s reputation and hindered women’s ability to contribute to the economy. Aya Batrawy, Anchorage Daily News, "Saudi women take the wheel as longstanding driving ban ends," 24 June 2018 The driving ban had been a stain on the country’s reputation and hindered women’s ability to contribute to the economy. Washington Post, "Saudi women take the wheel as longstanding driving ban ends," 24 June 2018 The switch was an easy attack for Ward, who has looked to make McSally's time in Washington a stain on her candidacy. Dan Merica, CNN, "Running for higher office as a member of Congress? Be forewarned.," 18 May 2018 Police got a warrant for Edwards' DNA, which matched a profile developed from a semen stain on Drew’s yellow pants. jsonline.com, "CHAPTER 8: "I'LL SEE HER IN HEAVEN"," 18 Oct. 2017 Con: Concrete is susceptible to stains and scratches. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Concrete Countertops: Is the Home Trend All It's Cracked up to Be?," 12 Dec. 2018 Be mindful that wooden platform beds are among the heaviest, and lighter shades of woods can be susceptible to stains. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Platform Beds," 21 Nov. 2018

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1557, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for stain

Verb

Middle English steynen, partly from Anglo-French desteindre to take away the color from & partly of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse steina to paint — more at distain

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Statistics for stain

Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stain

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

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More Definitions for stain

stain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to leave a mark on something

: to be marked or damaged by a stain

: to use a special liquid to change the color of (something)

stain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mark made on a surface, a piece of clothing, etc., that is very hard or impossible to remove

: a special liquid that is used to change the color of something (such as wood or cloth)

: something that causes people to have less respect for someone : something that damages a person's reputation

stain

verb
\ ˈstān \
stained; staining

Kids Definition of stain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to soil or discolor especially in spots
2 : to use something (as a dye) to change the color of I spent the weekend staining the deck.
3 : corrupt entry 1 sense 1 Her conscience was stained.
4 : disgrace entry 1 The scandal stained his reputation.

stain

noun

Kids Definition of stain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : spot entry 1 sense 2, discoloration Will this stain wash out?
2 : a mark of guilt or disgrace : stigma
3 : something (as a dye) used in staining

Other Words from stain

stainless \ -​ləs \ adjective
\ ˈstān \

Medical Definition of stain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause discoloration of smoking stains teeth
2 : to color by processes affecting chemically or otherwise the material itself stain bacteria with a fluorescent dye

intransitive verb

: to receive a stain

stain

noun

Medical Definition of stain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a discolored spot or area (as on the skin or teeth) — see port-wine stain
2 : a preparation (as of dye or pigment) used in staining something especially : a dye or mixture of dyes used in microscopy to make minute and transparent structures visible, to differentiate tissue elements, or to produce specific chemical reactions

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More from Merriam-Webster on stain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stain

Spanish Central: Translation of stain

Nglish: Translation of stain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stain

Comments on stain

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