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[verb uh-duhl-tuh-reyt; adjective uh-duhl-ter-it, -tuh-reyt] /verb əˈdʌl təˌreɪt; adjective əˈdʌl tər ɪt, -təˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), adulterated, adulterating.
to debase or make impure by adding inferior materials or elements; use cheaper, inferior, or less desirable goods in the production of (any professedly genuine article):
to adulterate food.
impure or debased; cheapened in quality or purity.
Origin of adulterate
1580-90; < Latin adulterātus mixed, adulterated (past participle of adulterāre), equivalent to ad- ad- + -ulter (perhaps combining form of alter other; see alter) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
adulterator, noun
unadulterate, adjective
Can be confused
adulterer, adulterate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for adulterate


verb (əˈdʌltəˌreɪt)
(transitive) to debase by adding inferior material: to adulterate milk with water
adjective (əˈdʌltərɪt; -ˌreɪt)
adulterated; debased or impure
a less common word for adulterous
Derived Forms
adulteration, noun
adulterator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin adulterāre to corrupt, commit adultery, probably from alter another, hence to approach another, commit adultery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for adulterate

1530s, back-formation from adulteration, or else from Latin adulteratus, past participle of adulterare "to falsify, corrupt," also "to commit adultery." Earlier verb was adulter (late 14c.). Related: Adulterated; adulterating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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