• synonyms


[dee-kuh n-tam-uh-neyt]
See more synonyms for decontaminate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), de·con·tam·i·nated, de·con·tam·i·nat·ing.
  1. to make (an object or area) safe for unprotected personnel by removing, neutralizing, or destroying any harmful substance, as radioactive material or poisonous gas.
  2. to make free of contamination; purify: to decontaminate a sickroom.
Show More

Origin of decontaminate

First recorded in 1935–40; de- + contaminate
Related formsde·con·tam·i·na·tion, nounde·con·tam·i·na·tive, adjectivede·con·tam·i·na·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

cleanse, disinfect, fumigate, sterilize, sanitize, wash, purify

Examples from the Web for decontaminate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They want our planets, and they didn't want to have to decontaminate them when they took them over.

    Shock Absorber

    E.G. von Wald

  • Nobody's had time to decontaminate this whole planet like they did Earth.

    Shock Absorber

    E.G. von Wald

  • A few essential manufactures had also been revived, mostly in the form of machine shops to decontaminate engine parts.

British Dictionary definitions for decontaminate


  1. (tr) to render (an area, building, object, etc) harmless by the removal, distribution, or neutralization of poisons, radioactivity, etc
Show More
Derived Formsdecontaminant, noundecontamination, noundecontaminative, adjectivedecontaminator, noun
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 decontaminate


1936, from de- + contaminate. Originally in reference to poison gas. Related: Decontaminated; decontaminating.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper