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[verb kuh n-tam-uh-neyt; noun, adjective kuh n-tam-uh-nit, -neyt] /verb kənˈtæm əˌneɪt; noun, adjective kənˈtæm ə nɪt, -ˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), contaminated, contaminating.
to make impure or unsuitable by contact or mixture with something unclean, bad, etc.:
to contaminate a lake with sewage.
to render harmful or unusable by adding radioactive material to:
to contaminate a laboratory.
something that contaminates or carries contamination; contaminant.
Obsolete. contaminated.
Origin of contaminate
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English contaminaten < Latin contāminātus, past participle of contāmināre to defile, spoil, equivalent to con- con- + -tāminare, verbal derivative of *tāmen something touched < *tag-s-men, equivalent to tag-, variant stem of tangere to touch + -s-men resultative noun suffix; cf. examen
Related forms
contaminable, adjective
contaminative, adjective
contaminator, noun
contaminous, adjective
noncontaminable, adjective
noncontaminative, adjective
recontaminate, verb (used with object), recontaminated, recontaminating.
self-contaminating, adjective
uncontaminable, adjective
uncontaminated, adjective
uncontaminative, adjective
1. defile, pollute, taint, infect, poison, corrupt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for contaminator
Historical Examples
  • The contaminator is sure to be seized and confined till prudence, if not virtue, ties his tongue.

British Dictionary definitions for contaminator


verb (transitive) (kənˈtæmɪˌneɪt)
to make impure, esp by touching or mixing; pollute
to make radioactive by the addition of radioactive material
adjective (kənˈtæmɪnɪt; -ˌneɪt)
(archaic) contaminated
Derived Forms
contaminable, adjective
contaminant, noun
contaminative, adjective
contaminator, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin contamināre to defile; related to Latin contingere to touch
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 contaminator



early 15c., from Old French contaminer, from Latin contaminatus, past participle of contaminare "to defile," from contamen "contact, pollution," from com- "together" (see com-) + *tag-, base of tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Related: Contaminant (1934); contaminable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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contaminator in Medicine

contaminate con·tam·i·nate (kən-tām'ə-nāt')
v. con·tam·i·nated, con·tam·i·nat·ing, con·tam·i·nates

  1. To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.

  2. To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.

con·tam·i·nant (-nənt) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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