[verb kuhn-tam-uh-neyt; noun, adjective kuhn-tam-uh-nit, -neyt]
- 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.
- Obsolete. contaminated.
Origin of contaminate
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
Synonyms for contaminate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to make impure, esp by touching or mixing; pollute
- to make radioactive by the addition of radioactive material
- archaic contaminated
Word Origin for contaminate
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.
- To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.