[ verb kuhn-tam-uh-neyt; noun, adjective kuhn-tam-uh-nit, -neyt ]
/ verb kənˈtæm əˌneɪt; noun, adjective kənˈtæm ə nɪt, -ˌneɪt /
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See synonyms for: contaminate / contaminated / contaminates / contaminative on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), con·tam·i·nat·ed, con·tam·i·nat·ing.
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.
something that contaminates or carries contamination; contaminant.
Obsolete. contaminated.
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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

OTHER WORDS FROM contaminate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use contaminate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contaminate


verb (kənˈtæmɪˌneɪt) (tr)
to make impure, esp by touching or mixing; pollute
to make radioactive by the addition of radioactive material
adjective (kənˈtæmɪnɪt, -ˌneɪt)
archaic contaminated

Derived forms of contaminate

contaminable, adjectivecontaminant, nouncontaminative, adjectivecontaminator, noun

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

Medical definitions for contaminate

[ kən-tămə-nāt′ ]

To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.
To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.

Other words from contaminate

con•tam•i•nant (-nənt) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.