Synonyms & Antonyms of taint

(Entry 1 of 2)



Synonyms & Antonyms of taint (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to affect slightly with something morally bad or undesirable
  • criticism of her sister's singing that was tainted by envy
  • a tendency toward conceitedness taints the athlete's status as a role model

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2 to make unfit for use by the addition of something harmful or undesirable
  • smog has long tainted the air of the city, making it difficult to breathe

Synonyms for taint

Words Related to taint

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Antonyms for taint

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Frequently Asked Questions About taint

How does the verb taint contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of taint are contaminate, defile, and pollute. While all these words mean "to make impure or unclean," taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination.

tainted meat

a politician's tainted reputation

When would contaminate be a good substitute for taint?

While in some cases nearly identical to taint, contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source.

water contaminated by industrial wastes

When can defile be used instead of taint?

The words defile and taint are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

When is pollute a more appropriate choice than taint?

Although the words pollute and taint have much in common, 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

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Time Traveler for taint

Time Traveler

The first known use of taint was in 1573

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Cite this Entry

“Taint.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on taint

Nglish: Translation of taint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taint for Arabic Speakers


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