[verb uh-duhl-tuh-reyt; adjective uh-duhl-ter-it, -tuh-reyt]

verb (used with object), a·dul·ter·at·ed, a·dul·ter·at·ing.

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 formsa·dul·ter·a·tor, nounun·a·dul·ter·ate, adjective
Can be confusedadulterer adulterate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adulterate

Historical Examples of adulterate

British Dictionary definitions for adulterate


verb (əˈdʌltəˌreɪt)

(tr) to debase by adding inferior materialto adulterate milk with water

adjective (əˈdʌltərɪt, -ˌreɪt)

adulterated; debased or impure
a less common word for adulterous
Derived Formsadulteration, nounadulterator, noun

Word Origin for adulterate

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

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