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

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Other Words from vitiate

vitiation \ ˌvi-​shē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce vitiation (audio) \ noun
vitiator \ ˈvi-​shē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce vitiator (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 else 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 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, "Is Trump Above the Law?," 19 Dec. 2019 By forbidding all comparison, this more expansive meaning is vitiated. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, "Why Historical Analogy Matters," 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, "Can Trump Assert Executive Privilege over His Conversations with Corey Lewandowski?," 17 Sep. 2019 Millennials have allied with Gen Z, and managed to vitiate the meme in the process by, basically, overdoing it. Molly Roberts, The Denver Post, "Molly Roberts: OK, boomer. The kids are fighting back.," 7 Nov. 2019 This obduracy vitiates Congress’ role in the system of checks and balances, one purpose of which is to restrain rampant presidents. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: The best antidote for a bad election is a better election," 29 Sep. 2019 Instead, put money into positive programs — head start, mentoring, teacher training – something that doesn’t vitiate the education process. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Focused students will suffer with SB 419," 17 Sep. 2019 But vitiating dual sovereignty by judicial fiat would reshape America’s legal system in ways that are best left to the political branches. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Supreme Court Gamble," 5 Dec. 2018 Because labor law only governs things like forming a union and organizing for better wages, anything out of that ambit, like going to court as a class, doesn’t vitiate the workers’ individual arbitration agreements. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "The Supreme Court Has Decided to Shut Workers Out of the Courthouse for Good," 21 May 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for vitiate

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The first known use of vitiate was in 1534

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Cite this Entry

“Vitiate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for vitiate


How to pronounce vitiate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vitiate

formal : to make (something) less effective : to ruin or spoil (something)
vi·​ti·​ate | \ ˈvi-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce vitiate (audio) \
vitiated; vitiating

Legal Definition of vitiate

: to make ineffective fraud vitiates a contract

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More from Merriam-Webster on vitiate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vitiate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vitiate

Nglish: Translation of vitiate for Spanish Speakers

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