tr.v. con·tam·i·nat·ed, con·tam·i·nat·ing, con·tam·i·nates
1. To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.
2. To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.
3. Linguistics To influence the semantic properties or phonological form of (a word or phrase); blend with: The Middle English word femelle was contaminated by the word male, resulting in the modern form female.
One that contaminates; a contaminant.
[Middle English contaminaten, from Latin contāmināre, contāmināt-; see tag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: contaminate, befoul, foul, poison, pollute, taint
These verbs mean to make dirty or impure: Pesticides contaminated the lake. Mud befouled his shoes. Noxious fumes foul the air. Farm runoff poisoned the fish. Exhaust polluted the air. Improper storage tainted the food.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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