[ verb uh-duhl-tuh-reyt; adjective uh-duhl-ter-it, -tuh-reyt ]
/ verb əˈdʌl təˌreɪt; adjective əˈdʌl tər ɪt, -təˌreɪt /

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 forms

a·dul·ter·a·tor, nounun·a·dul·ter·ate, adjective

Can be confused

adulterer adulterate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adulterated

British Dictionary definitions for adulterated


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 Forms

adulteration, 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