taint

verb
\ˈtānt \
tainted; tainting; taints

Definition of taint 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to contaminate morally : corrupt scholarship tainted by envy

2 : to affect with putrefaction : spoil

3 : to touch or affect slightly with something bad persons tainted with prejudice

intransitive verb

1 : to become affected with putrefaction : spoil

2 obsolete : to become weak

taint

noun

Definition of taint (Entry 2 of 2)

: a contaminating mark or influence the taint of scandal

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Other Words from taint

Noun

taintless \-​ləs \ adjective

Synonyms for taint

Synonyms: Verb

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

Synonyms: Noun

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for taint

Verb

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source. water contaminated by industrial wastes taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination. tainted meat a politician's tainted reputation pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy. the polluted waters of the river defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration. defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo

Examples of taint in a Sentence

Verb

criticism of her sister's singing that was tainted by envy a tendency toward conceitedness taints that athlete's status as a role model

Noun

that rare political campaign that wasn't marred by the taint of false accusations
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Oddly, the discovery has been somewhat tainted by rumors of criminal activity at the excavation site. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "3,500-Year-Old Swiss Relic Might Be Europe's Oldest Bronze Sculpture," 26 Sep. 2018 The legislature was effectively dissolved, replaced by a body of Mr. Maduro’s loyalists called the Constituent Assembly in a vote that the government’s own election software contractor denounced as tainted by manipulation. New York Times, "Critics Say He Can’t Beat a Dictator. This Venezuelan Thinks He Can.," 17 May 2018 The memo, released over the objections of the FBI and Justice Department, could well give Mr. Trump and Republicans new grounds to challenge the Mueller investigation as politically tainted. CBS News, "Revelations in memo could complicate effort to undermine Mueller probe," 3 Feb. 2018 First, to get the FBI’s early 2007 Guantánamo interrogations of the five defendants excluded from trial, as tainted by torture. Carol Rosenberg, miamiherald, "9/11 attorneys say they can’t defend clients without questioning CIA about torture," 19 Jan. 2018 And earlier this week, a federal court panel struck down North Carolina's congressional maps as politically tainted, sending that case headed toward the high court as well. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court adds Texas election districts challenge to others from Wisconsin, Maryland," 12 Jan. 2018 Herson Cordonez, a 29-year-old Honduran, said the actions of a few migrants were tainting the image of the 4,000 to 6,000 in the caravan, not all of whom have yet reached Tijuana. Julie Watson, The Seattle Times, "Caravan migrants weigh options after court blocks Trump ban," 20 Nov. 2018 To ensure conflicts of interest don’t taint plans for dividing assets, bankruptcy rules also require advisers to disclose all connections, or relationships that could bias an adviser’s work. Tom Corrigan, WSJ, "McKinsey, Turnaround Veteran Alix Set to Face Off in Another Coal Bankruptcy," 12 Nov. 2018 The only thing more egregious than tainting Friends' good name is, well, trying to stop a historically marginalized demographic from being able to choose who governs them. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Dear Georgia Republicans, Leave 'Friends' Alone," 23 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Mark Zuckerberg has cornered the market on the hoodie, and Elizabeth Holmes gave a taint to the turtleneck that Steve Jobs used so well. Caille Millner, San Francisco Chronicle, "Is a sucker really born every minute? The Bay Area will find out," 31 May 2018 Petro’s anti-corruption platform and his unconventional path into politics helps him avoid the taint that falls on establishment politicians. Ian Bremmer, Time, "5 Reasons Why Right-Wing Senator Ivan Duque Is Likely to Win Colombia's Presidential Election," 1 June 2018 That group, known as a taint team, would then do their own review of the remaining materials to determine which were privileged. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Judge Orders Document Review in Cohen Case to End Next Week," 26 June 2018 In Vinous, critic Antonio Galloni addresses a question that’s been on all of our minds: Will smoke taint be a major issue in Napa Valley wines from the 2017 vintage? Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Signs of new life in California vineyards," 21 June 2018 There is the taint of stigma and a reticence to talk openly about this kind of reproductive loss. Tara Shafer, Redbook, "I Lost a Baby at 33 Weeks — Now I'm Fighting to Spare Others the Same Pain," 19 June 2018 Would the taint last for the entirety of his administration? Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "In the Travel-Ban Case, Supreme Court Seems Ready to Let Trump Be Trump," 25 Apr. 2018 These clergy and parishioners dismissed the humanitarian act of rescuing Jews — which was also undeniably political — as a course best avoided by a church that perceived itself above the taint of worldly affairs. Rabbi Dan Fink, idahostatesman, "Neutrality is not a moral option | Idaho Statesman," 21 Apr. 2018 Under the procedure, the taint team would turn over to the case investigators all the material that is relevant and not covered by attorney-client privilege. BostonGlobe.com, "Attorney for Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says Cohen performed secret legal work for Fox News commentator Sean Hannity," 17 Apr. 2018

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

Verb

1573, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taint

Verb

Middle English teynten to color & taynten to attaint; Middle English teynten, from Anglo-French teinter, from teint, past participle of teindre, from Latin tingere; Middle English taynten, short for attaynten — more at tinge, attain

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Dictionary Entries near taint

Taine

tainiolite

Taino

taint

tainter gate

tainture

taintworm

Statistics for taint

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for taint

The first known use of taint was in 1573

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More Definitions for taint

taint

verb

English Language Learners Definition of taint

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to hurt or damage the good condition of (something)

: to make (something) dangerous or dirty especially by adding something harmful or undesirable to it

taint

noun

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

: something that causes a person or thing to be thought of as bad, dishonest, etc.

taint

verb
\ˈtānt \
tainted; tainting

Kids Definition of taint

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to rot slightly tainted meat

2 : to affect slightly with something bad One bad game tainted my reputation as the best.

taint

noun

Kids Definition of taint (Entry 2 of 2)

: a trace of decay

\ˈtānt \

Legal Definition of taint 

: to damage or destroy the validity of evidence tainted by an illegal search

Other Words from taint

taint noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on taint

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taint

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taint

Spanish Central: Translation of taint

Nglish: Translation of taint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taint for Arabic Speakers

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