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 four hapless Athenian lovers start out in crisp white attire that looks increasingly grass-stained as their ordeal escalates. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘The Flood’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Reviews: Premieres in Pursuit of Reinvention," 11 Feb. 2019 By being outspoken about the archaic but pervasive issue of equal pay that still stains women’s reality—women are still being paid 78 cents to every dollar men make—celebrities are inspiring more women to do the same. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "How Cardi B and Ellen Pompeo's Money Moves Are Inspiring Real Women to Ask for More," 4 May 2018 The Golgi method stains only a small fraction of cells, but those parts that do stain turn completely black. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Drawings That Capture the Brain’s Mysteries," 21 Nov. 2018 And, unlike upholstery or wood, a metal platform bed won’t stain or fade over time. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Platform Beds," 21 Nov. 2018 The scandal has stained the city's reputation and cost taxpayers at least $115 million so far in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other compensation to victims. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Judge tells prosecutor to 'toughen up' during hearing in Jackie Wilson case after new trial ordered," 20 June 2018 My whole family was like that, tobacco- stained, curling a little at the edges. Singed. David Roderick, SFChronicle.com, "State Lines: A poem by Melissa Stein," 7 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Softer brushes, like this one, are better for stains and clear finishes, like varnish, spar varnish, shellac, and brushing lacquers. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The 4 Biggest Painting Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)," 16 Jan. 2019 Con: Butcher-block is susceptible to scratches, dings, and stains. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Butcher-Block Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know," 15 Jan. 2019 Rub liquid laundry detergent into any remaining stain and wash the fabric in warm or hot water. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Remove Candle Wax from Clothes, Carpet, and More," 24 Dec. 2018 Gentle, easy lip tints and stains are hitting shelves left and right from brands as skin-friendly as Origins and as dramatic as Pat McGrath Labs. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "14 Lip Tints That Are Pretty, Easy, and Hydrating," 8 Oct. 2018 According to the Aim at Melanoma Foundation, ALM may be difficult to recognize as it can be mistaken for a stain or a bruise, and can occur on seemingly healthy skin. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Woman claims nail-biting habit linked to cancer diagnosis," 7 Sep. 2018 The seats are sprayed daily and wiped down to eliminate odors and stains. Laura J. Nelson, latimes.com, "Goodbye, upholstery. Hello, vinyl: L.A. Metro is phasing out some of its infamous fabric seats," 10 July 2018 Bite Beauty's creamy matte crayon glides on for major, full-coverage impact—because dark berry stains are best worn on lips, not on the rim of a wine glass. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The 9 Best Red Lipsticks of All Time for Christmas and Beyond," 25 Dec. 2018 Further work found that the outbreak stain was present in canal water running along farms. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "The poop of 100K cows may be to blame for that deadly romaine E. coli outbreak," 8 Aug. 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

18 Feb 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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