Definition of contaminate in English:



  • Make (something) impure by exposure to or addition of a poisonous or polluting substance.

    ‘the site was found to be contaminated by radioactivity’
    figurative ‘celebrity has contaminated every aspect of public life’
    ‘contaminated blood products’
    • ‘They want to make sure that nothing contaminates the evidence.’
    • ‘Many types of viral and bacterial pathogens that grow in the gut of infected people may contaminate water and food.’
    • ‘Groundwater will be polluted, which would contaminate drinking water.’
    • ‘It was approved only for animal feed but was found to be contaminating several corn products sold to consumers.’
    • ‘Chemicals in everyday products such as good packaging and cosmetics contaminate our air, water and soil.’
    • ‘Apparently parents emit poisonous substances which contaminate their kids in much the same way that humans pollute the environment.’
    • ‘If mercury is found in local soil, it can contaminate the fish supply.’
    • ‘If not properly disposed of, these substances can contaminate ground water.’
    • ‘I think most people are tired of this way of contaminating the political agenda.’
    • ‘The poison could be used to contaminate food or water, which would achieve the aim of spreading panic, or left on door handles in busy buildings.’
    • ‘It can crash through the armour of a modern tank and it poisons land and contaminates water supplies for years causing cancers and genetic defects.’
    • ‘Sources of contaminated soils include manufacturers, businesses, retail establishments, government and individuals.’
    • ‘They added somebody stealing food can be jailed while those who poison people by contaminating food can get away scot free.’
    • ‘I think there's paranoia in the national press and that contaminates the foreign press.’
    • ‘Air pollution can hurt animals and humans when they inhale contaminated air.’
    • ‘But this should not be carried out on-farm because it can further contaminate the ground and infect other cattle.’
    • ‘The test results showed that raw sewage is contaminating the bathing areas.’
    • ‘They must be dismantled on an impermeable surface to avoid contaminating the ground.’
    • ‘He notes that although it was just water, there were dead fish and poison oak contaminating the water all over the course.’
    • ‘The amount of mercury found in fish may be 3,000 times the original concentration in the contaminated water.’
    pollute, adulterate
    make impure, defile, debase, corrupt, taint, infect, blight, foul, spoil, soil, mar, impair, stain, befoul
    sully, tarnish
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Late Middle English: from Latin contaminat- made impure from the verb contaminare, from contamen contact, pollution from con- together with + the base of tangere to touch.