- to affect or contaminate (a person, organ, wound, etc.) with disease-producing germs.
- to affect with disease.
- to taint or contaminate with something that affects quality, character, or condition unfavorably: to infect the air with poison gas.
- to corrupt or affect morally: The news of the gold strike infected him with greed.
- to imbue with some pernicious belief, opinion, etc.
- to affect with a computer virus.
- to affect so as to influence feeling or action: His courage infected the others.
- Law. to taint with illegality, or expose to penalty, forfeiture, etc.
- to become infected.
- Archaic. infected.
Origin of infect
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
5. damage, corrupt. 6. touch, stir, arouse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for infect
While the bats are infected, they shed large quantities of virus that can infect other animals.Bats’ Link to Ebola Finally Solved
November 12, 2014
Ebola Reston, it seemed, could infect humans, but never became symptomatic.Already Deadly in Africa, Could Ebola Hit America Next?
April 5, 2014
They had to infect the perfectly adequate data with the totally improbable idea of a 400-year-old heirloom elk antler tool.Incontrovertible Evidence Proves the First Americans Came From Asia
March 27, 2014
But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy.Pro-Israel Group Attacks New York Times' Iran Correspondent
August 5, 2013
Have you wondered how the U.S. managed to infect Iranian computers?Obama Leaks for Votes
June 2, 2012
Throw me on a dunghill, and let me rot there, to infect the air!'The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby
The nurse should be particularly careful not to infect herself.Rural Hygiene
Henry N. Ogden
But you have no right to infect Bonaday, here, with your poison.Brother Copas
Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
They are easily caught by panic, lose their heads and infect all the others.Beasts, Men and Gods
Stand clear of rashness, and have nothing of insincerity or self-love to infect you.Dickory Cronke
- to cause infection in; contaminate (an organism, wound, etc) with pathogenic microorganisms
- (also intr) to affect or become affected with a communicable disease
- to taint, pollute, or contaminate
- to affect, esp adversely, as if by contagion
- computing to affect with a computer virus
- mainly international law to taint with crime or illegality; expose to penalty or subject to forfeiture
- archaic contaminated or polluted with or as if with a disease; infected
C14: from Latin inficere to dip into, stain, from facere to make
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
Word Origin and History for infect
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To contaminate with a pathogenic microorganism or agent.
- To communicate a pathogen or disease to another organism.
- To invade and produce infection in an organ or body part.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.