vi·​ti·​ate | \ ˈvi-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce vitiate (audio) \
vitiated; vitiating

Definition of vitiate

transitive verb

1 : to make faulty or defective : impair the comic impact is vitiated by obvious haste— William Styron
2 : to debase in moral or aesthetic status a mind vitiated by prejudice
3 : to make ineffective fraud vitiates a contract

Other Words from vitiate

vitiation \ ˌvi-​shē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce vitiate (audio) \ noun
vitiator \ ˈvi-​shē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce vitiate (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vitiate

debase, vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert mean to cause deterioration or lowering in quality or character. debase implies a loss of position, worth, value, or dignity. commercialism has debased the holiday vitiate implies a destruction of purity, validity, or effectiveness by allowing entrance of a fault or defect. a foreign policy vitiated by partisanship deprave implies moral deterioration by evil thoughts or influences. the claim that society is depraved by pornography corrupt implies loss of soundness, purity, or integrity. the belief that bureaucratese corrupts the language debauch implies a debasing through sensual indulgence. the long stay on a tropical isle had debauched the ship's crew pervert implies a twisting or distorting from what is natural or normal. perverted the original goals of the institute

Did you know?

Here's one for word puzzle lovers—and anyone allured by alliteration. The sentence "Vivian vituperated the vicious villain for valuing vice over virtue" contains three words that derive from the same Latin source as vitiate. Can you identify all three? If you picked vituperate (a verb meaning "to scold"), vicious, and vice, your puzzle prowess is beyond reproach. Like vitiate, all three descend from the Latin noun vitium, meaning "fault" or "vice."

Examples of vitiate in a Sentence

The impact of the film was vitiated by poor acting. believed that luxury vitiates even the most principled person
Recent Examples on the Web The vertiginous composition incorporates tropes of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, which, having become second nature to Howe, hardly vitiate the intensity of this particular religious rapture. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 The practical effect of this opinion is to vitiate risk pools as a method for small captive insurance companies to meet the risk distribution requirements for tax purposes. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 13 May 2022 The conspiracy argument is an attempt to vitiate Eastman's attorney-client privilege defense. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 4 Mar. 2022 Failure to do that can potentially vitiate or at least impair coverage. Joshua Stein, Forbes, 9 Nov. 2021 The climate effects of such wanton deforestation will partially vitiate any environmental gains from the collapse in ground and air transport this spring. Troy Vettese, The New Republic, 31 July 2020 They and Trump can be expected to argue that a party-line vote in the House should vitiate the stigma of impeachment. Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, 19 Dec. 2019 By forbidding all comparison, this more expansive meaning is vitiated. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, 7 Jan. 2020 If the legitimacy of his actions is deemed vitiated by a potentially corrupt intent to impede the investigation, then his communications facilitate a crime and are not privileged. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 17 Sep. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vitiate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of vitiate

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vitiate

Latin vitiatus, past participle of vitiare, from vitium fault, vice

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The first known use of vitiate was in 1534

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vitiate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for vitiate


transitive verb
vi·​ti·​ate | \ ˈvi-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce vitiate (audio) \
vitiated; vitiating

Legal Definition of vitiate

: to make ineffective fraud vitiates a contract

More from Merriam-Webster on vitiate

Nglish: Translation of vitiate for Spanish Speakers


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