transitive verb (-nated; -nating) Etymology: Middle English, from Latin contaminatus, past participle of contaminare; akin to Latin contingere to have contact with — more at contingent Date: 15th century 1. a. to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association <
bacteria contaminated the wound
b. to make inferior or impure by admixture <
iron contaminated with phosphorus
2. to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements • contaminative adjectivecontaminator noun Synonyms: 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

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • contaminate — con‧tam‧i‧nate [kənˈtæmneɪt] verb [transitive] 1. to make something dirty and dangerous, for example with chemicals or poison: • A large number of eggs were contaminated with salmonella. 2. INSURANCE to spoil goods carried by a ship, especially… …   Financial and business terms

  • Contaminate — Con*tam i*nate (k[o^]n*t[a^]m [i^]*n[=a]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Contaminated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Contaminating}.] [L. contaminatus, p. p. of contaminare to bring into contact, to contaminate, fr. contamen contagion, for contagmen; con + root of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contaminate — contaminate, taint, attaint, pollute, defile mean to debase by making impure or unclean. Contaminate implies the presence or the influence of something external which by entering into or by coming in contact with a thing destroys or may destroy… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Contaminate — Con*tam i*nate ( n[asl]t), a. Contaminated; defiled; polluted; tainted. Contaminate drink. Daniel. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contaminate — [kən tam′ə nāt΄] vt. contaminated, contaminating [ME contaminaten < L contaminatus, pp. of contaminare, to defile < contamen, contact, contagion < com , together + base of tangere, to touch: see TACT] to make impure, infected, corrupt,… …   English World dictionary

  • contaminate — I noun abomination, adulteration, befoulment, contagion, defilement, infection, poisoning, pollution, taint, vitiation II verb adulterate, befoul, corrupt, debase, defile, degenerate, degrade, denaturalize, desecrate, disease, impair, infect, mar …   Law dictionary

  • contaminate — (v.) early 15c., from O.Fr. contaminer, from L. contaminatus, pp. of contaminare to defile, from contamen contact, pollution, from com together (see COM (Cf. com )) + *tag , base of tangere to touch (see TANGENT (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • contaminate — [v] adulterate alloy, befoul, corrupt, debase, debauch, defile, deprave, desecrate, dirty, harm, infect, injure, muck up, pervert, poison, pollute, profane, radioactivate, soil, spoil, stain, sully, taint, tarnish, vitiate; concepts 252,254 Ant.… …   New thesaurus

  • contaminate — ► VERB ▪ make impure by exposure to or addition of a poisonous or polluting substance. DERIVATIVES contaminant noun contamination noun contaminator noun. ORIGIN Latin contaminare make impure , from contamen contact, pollution …   English terms dictionary

  • contaminate — v. (D; tr.) to contaminate by, with (to contaminate smb. with smt; a wound contaminated by bacteria) * * * [kən tæmɪneɪt] with (to contaminate smt with smt; a wound contaminated by bacteria) contemplate y. (G) he contaminated resigning (D; tr.)… …   Combinatory dictionary

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