[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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Wordsharm, pollute, injure, tarnish, infect, taint, poison, corrupt, stain, sully, defile, pervert, debase, profane, soil, alloy, befoul, dirty, spoil, debauch
Examples from the Web for contaminated
Then, Rogen convinces Franco to drink some contaminated water from a stream—which causes the 127 Hours Oscar nominee to dry-heave.James Franco and Seth Rogen Get ‘Naked and Afraid’… And It’s Hilarious
December 8, 2014
Initial indications are that the positive test resulted from the consumption of a contaminated feed product.Queen's Horse Tests Positive For Morphine
July 22, 2014
As for an investigation, the crash site has already been contaminated by local forces.Why Was Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Flying Through a War Zone?
July 17, 2014
What little evidence there is has been contaminated by the performance of the Malaysian authorities.The Baseless Rush to Blame the Pilots of Flight 370
March 16, 2014
Some may also have been infected through tattoos and piercings with contaminated needles.There’s a Life Saving New Drug. But You Can’t Afford It.
Kaiser Health News
February 28, 2014
The joke was 'contaminated' round among them, and they enjoyed it.
I should kill him this instant for the contaminated pariah he is!The Moon is Green
Fritz Reuter Leiber
Who were the members of my family I had contaminated or corrupted?Paul Gosslett's Confessions in Love, Law, and The Civil Service
Charles James Lever
An infectious material is one contaminated with germs of infection.
You see, what Thurston didn't realize was that his cultures were contaminated.Pandemic
Jesse Franklin Bone
- to make impure, esp by touching or mixing; pollute
- to make radioactive by the addition of radioactive material
- archaic contaminated
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
Word Origin and History for contaminated
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.