stain

verb
\ ˈstān How to pronounce stain (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stainable (audio) \ adjective
stainer \ ˈstā-​nər How to pronounce stainer (audio) \ noun

Noun

stainproof \ ˈstān-​ˌprüf How to pronounce stainproof (audio) \ 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

Midway through the meal, our server changes our charred, stained grill for a shiny fresh one. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The workers who make Korean barbecue possible deserve better," 29 July 2019 Glossy white cabinets had replaced the dark brown cabinets my mother had meticulously stained herself. Linda Wolff, latimes.com, "More than 30 years later, a visit to the old home where kids played and Dad used to smoke his pipe," 16 June 2018 This is a classic noir premise: the good man with the dark past who can’t avoid being stained by all the messes he’s created. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Dinosaur-riding Nazis in ‘Iron Sky, The Coming Race’ and more," 18 July 2019 But for the past several months, the last part of the equation has been stained by an invasion of seaweed-like algae. Andrea Navarro, BostonGlobe.com, "Cancun has a nasty seaweed problem, and tourists are staying away," 16 July 2019 Hoyt likes linen and woven fabrics for thick material that won’t stain. Helen Carefoot, Twin Cities, "Don’t let a small balcony stop you from enjoying the space," 15 July 2019 And lots of people learned the hard way that the pizza box that fed the family during the NBA Finals can’t go into the recycling bin since the box is usually stained. Sylvia Gurinsky, sun-sentinel.com, "Recycling needs to be reshaped | Opinion," 26 June 2019 With the proper prep and staining products, your deck will look next to new. Maya Mcdowell, Popular Mechanics, "How To Rehab Your Deck For Summer," 3 July 2019 And while the chances of staining a white sofa or rug are high, the risk is worth the reward. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "6 Tricks to Make a Windowless Room Feel Bright," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The airport resumed operations this morning, with airport staff seen removing stains and covering up graffiti as passengers arrived. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for August 14: Hong Kong, Dayton, China trade, Russia, teens online," 14 Aug. 2019 Engelbach says this also allows you to notice any snags — like stains or loose buttons — ahead of time and save you the hassle of dealing with it last minute. NBC News, "25 time-saving hacks that will add hours back to your week," 12 Aug. 2019 Scrape marks and stains across the sidewalk’s surface appeared to show a vehicle’s path. Lucas Phillips, BostonGlobe.com, "Lynn man fatally shot by Everett police during chase into Revere," 4 Aug. 2019 Cleaning dirty sneakers can be a real hassle, but these new Wang sneaks promise to be stiff competition for everyday spills and stains. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Alexander Wang Just Gave Us The Summer's Hottest Sneaker," 10 July 2019 Sherwin-Williams struck a deal last year for Lowe’s Co LOW 2.26% s. to sell its paint, stains and brushes exclusively. Austen Hufford, WSJ, "Berkshire Hathaway’s Benjamin Moore to Become Main Paint Supplier for Ace Hardware," 10 July 2019 Although most of the photos are black-and-white, the crimson stain and the gay-pride banner splash color onto white backdrops. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: ‘Archiving Eden’ exhibition sprouts interest with macro photos," 5 July 2019 From now to July 7, enjoy $10 off one-gallon cans, or $40 off five-gallon buckets of select BEHR® interior and exterior paints and stains at The Home Depot stores nationwide—including hues from the BEHR 2020 Color Trends palette. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "The Best July 4th Home Sales to Keep on Your Radar," 1 July 2019 This list goes on, all part of a massive attempt to scrub up the spills and stains that the company has made of late. Kara Swisher, Vox, "In Facebook we trust? (All others pay cash)," 24 June 2019

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

19 Aug 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 How to pronounce stain (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stain (audio) \

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

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