Definition of taint in English:



  • 1A trace of a bad or undesirable substance or quality:

    ‘the lingering taint of creosote’
    ‘the taint of corruption which adhered to the government’
    • ‘It is as clean as the newest and freshest rubber, you can throw it over the daintiest lady's dress with perfect safety, you can hang it in the same closet with your evening clothes and get no taint of odor.’
    • ‘She should have the best of forage, the purest of water, the cleanest and best of ventilated stables, and the air should be free from any taint of noxious vapors - in a word, the entire environment of this faithful animal should be as carefully and honestly protected as though she was human and not brute.’
    trace, touch, suggestion, hint, tinge, tincture
    smear, stain, blot, blemish, slur, stigma, tarnish, scar, black mark, spot, imperfection, flaw, fault, defect, blot on one's escutcheon
    discredit, dishonour, disgrace, shame
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    1. 1.1 Something with a contaminating influence or effect:
      ‘the taint that threatens to stain most of the company's other partners’
      • ‘Hannah picked, noticing how the tone of her voice had taken a sort of offensive taint.’
      • ‘I mean, Celine Dion - there's no taint right now to playing Vegas.’
      • ‘But what is a taint at the Centre is not a taint in the States.’
      • ‘What's being to protect our foodstuffs against taint and what can we expect to be the symptoms of such a thing?’
      • ‘Secondly, once there had been illegal maintenance the proceedings were irretrievably tainted; the taint could not be purged except by discontinuing the proceedings and bringing a fresh action.’
      • ‘Jaehli stood up abruptly, rubbing her hands on her pants as if trying to remove some imaginary taint. * Ugh!’
      • ‘The three sculptures on show have a macabre taint but, in each piece, the nightmarish quality resonates at a different pitch.’
      • ‘The publication of Quantum Leaps is not a fluke; rather it is an exceptionally clear manifestation of the taint, stigma, and taboo surrounding the paranormal.’
      • ‘What its creative accounting can't do, though, is wash the taint off the network following this little advertising stunt.’
      • ‘If the fever did not kill him, this magical taint surely would!’
      • ‘A low level of taint will disappear in a few minutes.’
      • ‘One wants to keep this area, as it were, as free of taint as far as one can.’
      • ‘As always, she was dressed plainly in a black garment that shifted unnaturally, almost as if the touch of her skin would leave some dread taint.’
      • ‘The problem is that I am apparently carrying a taint.’
      • ‘But then there's taints and stigmas and you get passed from new boss to new boss and nobody really knows what your situation is and I think you just become a bit of a blur on their system.’
      • ‘But that transition can be a difficult one - today's fame will never disappear, but its sparkle may curdle into a taint.’
      • ‘Assimilation, with or without conversion to the majority faith, might succeed in masking this bedrock taint; it could not expunge it.’
      • ‘Right now, the judge has got to see that there's a possibility of some taint to this jury pool.’
      • ‘Yet the reputation is so strong that some people in south Surrey claim to live in neighbouring White Rock, or mention their Crescent Beach neighbourhood rather than the actual city it's part of, to avoid the taint.’
      • ‘I feel contaminated by it, almost as if it's a taint upon my soul.’


  • 1 Contaminate or pollute (something):

    ‘the air was tainted by fumes from the cars’
    • ‘And for those of us who prefer not to have our food tainted with someone else's tobacco smoke, there will be no smoking in the building, except in the bar.’
    • ‘Lab tests showed that the birds ate grain tainted with insecticide.’
    • ‘The ash taints my skin and the torn sack cloth enshrouds my weakened body’
    • ‘Pollution, noise, tainted food, plastics, celebrity boxing - we live in an alarmingly toxic environment.’
    • ‘Strains of resistant bacteria and viruses are grown and spread through overuse of antibiotics, and growth hormones taint the meat and cause deformities.’
    • ‘The residents claim that fish caught in local waters are tainted with oil deposits from the refinery.’
    • ‘Even our fruits and vegetables get contaminated by these pathogens through exposure to tainted fertilizers and sewage sludge.’
    • ‘Salt water edged into the aquifer, tainting the drinking water of the burgeoning urban areas.’
    • ‘The results showed 17.2 percent of the 169 aircraft carried water tainted with total coliform bacteria.’
    • ‘The substitute eliminates the problem of donated blood being tainted by infections or impurities.’
    • ‘As discussed, transmission can occur through tainted blood transfusions as well as through intravenous drug use.’
    • ‘Pollution from Asia can taint the air along the West Coast of the U.S., said scientists on Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.’
    • ‘A meat processing plant in Southern California mixed ground beef tainted with E. coli with other ground beef.’
    • ‘Whether it's radiation unleashed or tainted food, how can we prevent harmful substances from being released into the environment?’
    • ‘Both of us were sick, after eating some tainted chocolate.’
    • ‘The stony surface was tainted with red iron and calcium, something that I had learned in school.’
    • ‘The buttons on lifts, tainted with vague trails of dried-up fluids, never escape her consciousness.’
    • ‘Many days passed with the ratio of foam to liquid within the soda changing in favor of an inevitable cataclysmic explosion that would ruin and taint all other foods within the refrigerator.’
    • ‘The best way to avoid eating food tainted with toxic chemicals was to buy certified organic produce, Dixon argued.’
    • ‘Once the contaminated meat leaves the processing plants, the consumer really is in trouble - as there is effectively no way to work out whether the meat is tainted or safe.’
    contaminate, pollute, adulterate, infect, blight, befoul, spoil, soil, ruin, destroy
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    1. 1.1 Affect with a bad or undesirable quality:
      ‘his administration was tainted by scandal’
      • ‘He placed his arrow tainted with a poison, which instantly knocks out a target, on his bow.’
      • ‘But some of the most prominent have been tainted by scandal.’
      • ‘The market has been tainted with poor quality products, dismal performance and overwhelming disappointment.’
      • ‘The start of health was meant to be yesterday but after my muesli breakfast I forgot my bag of Tupperware, not on purpose, and so had to taint myself with the poison which is sandwiches and crisps for lunch.’
      • ‘In particular, the workhouse was a shame that affected anyone tainted with its brush no matter what their birth.’
      • ‘They stood in wait, a touch of nervousness undeniably tainting the air around them.’
      • ‘So it would have been reasonable to assume that she may have carried with her an air of confidence, even arrogance, that seems to taint every successful artist once the cash starts rolling in.’
      • ‘You have two icons and one is pure and idealized, the other is tainted and dirtied.’
      • ‘The words were like poison, sinking beneath my skin and tainting me.’
      • ‘Small dashes of bright primary and secondary colour taint the heavier earth tones, but recede into the moody hues of the whole at a distance.’
      • ‘Do you feel at all that your season has been slightly tainted now by this scandal?’
      • ‘Information collected by pollsters could be tainted by biases of survey questions as well as the biases of the pollsters themselves, said Heywood.’
      • ‘These pictures, all very considerable exercises in the craft of painting, are, for us, tainted by an unreality which can seem pernicious.’
      • ‘Even those whose intentions are purely altruistic do not want to risk being tainted by accusations of trying to buy influence.’
      • ‘While I find the very premise of the show irritating at best, this conclusive season promises to be tainted by an unintended melancholy on top of everything else.’
      • ‘His continued presence in government taints it with the noxious smell of cronyism.’
      • ‘In context though, the trite lyrics never taint the record's abundant qualities.’
      • ‘He's smart and energetic and he's never been tainted by corruption or scandal.’
      • ‘Both tainted by scandal, they are also the most polarizing figures from each of their respective parties.’
      • ‘She also trawls memories of her own childhood - her mother's accidental death, tainted with scandal, and her father collapsing in on himself.’
      tarnish, sully, blacken, stain, besmirch, smear, blot, blemish, stigmatize, mar, corrupt, defile, soil, muddy, foul, dirty, damage, injure, harm, hurt, debase, infect, poison, vitiate, drag through the mud, blot one's copybook
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    2. 1.2archaic [no object] (of food or water) become contaminated or polluted:
      ‘the rennet should be soaked in water containing sufficient salt to keep it from tainting’
      • ‘When ice is covered, odors will accumulate and the food will taint.’
      • ‘One such recommends using an old 'fridge for smoking, "but be careful not to get it too hot or the food will taint from the burning plastic!"’
      become sour, go sour, go off, sour, curdle, become rancid, go bad, spoil
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Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘convict, prove guilty’): partly from Old French teint tinged, based on Latin tingere to dye, tinge; partly a shortening of attaint.