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[dee-kuh n-tam-uh-neyt] /ˌdi kənˈtæm əˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), decontaminated, decontaminating.
to make (an object or area) safe for unprotected personnel by removing, neutralizing, or destroying any harmful substance, as radioactive material or poisonous gas.
to make free of contamination; purify:
to decontaminate a sickroom.
Origin of decontaminate
First recorded in 1935-40; de- + contaminate
Related forms
decontamination, noun
decontaminative, adjective
decontaminator, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for decontaminate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They want our planets, and they didn't want to have to decontaminate them when they took them over.

    Shock Absorber E.G. von Wald
  • Nobody's had time to decontaminate this whole planet like they did Earth.

    Shock Absorber E.G. von Wald
  • A few essential manufactures had also been revived, mostly in the form of machine shops to decontaminate engine parts.

    The Year When Stardust Fell Raymond F. Jones
British Dictionary definitions for decontaminate


(transitive) to render (an area, building, object, etc) harmless by the removal, distribution, or neutralization of poisons, radioactivity, etc
Derived Forms
decontaminant, noun
decontamination, noun
decontaminative, adjective
decontaminator, noun
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 decontaminate

1936, from de- + contaminate. Originally in reference to poison gas. Related: Decontaminated; decontaminating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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