Definition of stain in US English:

stain

verb

[with object]
  • 1Mark (something) with colored patches or dirty marks that are not easily removed.

    ‘her clothing was stained with blood’
    no object ‘red ink can stain’
    ‘a stained placemat’
    • ‘The most prominently stained sites are marked with triangles and numbered from distal to proximal to serve as landmarks.’
    • ‘Iced tea is a light brown shade and will stain the white cloth covering the table just like the cranberries.’
    • ‘I couldn't help but notice his teeth were stained a faint yellow, probably from consumption of too many cigars.’
    • ‘Thank you for making me laugh by saying I looked like a monster after the charcoal stained my teeth black.’
    • ‘Or you might stain light-colored paper with tea, coffee or crepe paper.’
    • ‘For young women, and young men, chewing sepa, and having stained teeth, is considered old fashioned and unattractive.’
    • ‘If you wait, it may be too late to safely remove the spot without staining or discoloring the fabric.’
    • ‘Her smile reveals the solitary stained tooth giving character to her mouth, possibly confirming the witch theory to the cynical.’
    • ‘And then there was the dishevelled-looking crooked old man in a dirty stained raincoat and muddy boots.’
    • ‘I could remember him talking about how coffee can stain a person's teeth yellow and how he felt like he was too young to have yellow stained teeth.’
    • ‘My parents gave me a small dog which I love dearly, but she has caused havoc by urinating on the lawn, staining it yellow.’
    • ‘Many of the flats above are boarded up, the railings at the front and the side of the properties have rusted and the concrete blocks are stained and marked with graffiti.’
    • ‘Known in ancient Greece, this plant was also called ‘sallow thorn’ because the berries can stain the skin yellow.’
    • ‘The ceiling's decorations were heavily stained with smoke while most of the flooring was broken.’
    • ‘An ugly gash ran up her left leg and blood had stained the carpet.’
    • ‘He remembered seeing his mother sewing the flag; he remembered how she had cried, how her tears had stained the fabric.’
    • ‘The tables had a ravaged look - platters almost empty and puddled with brownish juices, serving spoons staining the linens, parsley sprigs limp and bedraggled.’
    • ‘if you stain that there'll be serious consequences.’
    • ‘The act of crushing leaves or flowers with a hammer releases pigments that stain fabric.’
    • ‘The carpet was white at one time, but smoke and time had stained it yellow.’
    discolour, blemish, soil, mark, muddy, spot, spatter, splatter, smear, splash, smudge, blotch, blacken
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Be marked or be liable to be marked with a stain.
      • ‘There it comes sliding down the luggage ramp: flattened, tattered, stained, wonderfully unappealing.’
      • ‘I got out the pages of my calculations, by now curling and stained.’
      • ‘Luckily, it was a dark red shirt, so hopefully even if it stains, it won't be visible.’
      • ‘His Academy uniform is as stiff and properly worn as any I've seen, but the material is stained and patched.’
      • ‘The stucco is chipped and stained and peeling off like sunburned skin; the lawn expired months ago.’
      • ‘With the lapse of time, they would become stained and have plants growing in the gaps resulting from the acceptably uneven surface of the blocks.’
      • ‘Little Sye was sitting on the grass, her dress stained and dirty.’
      • ‘Handwritten on scraps of paper, crumpled and often stained, they may be hard to decipher at times.’
      • ‘The writer goes on to describe granite as a ‘porous stone, meaning it can be easily stained.’’
      • ‘There were no carpets on the floors which, uncovered, had become stained and dirty.’
      • ‘You can wash it with a garden house, it doesn't mildew, it doesn't stain, it looks good, it has great acoustics.’
      • ‘Slabs need to be sealed to prevent staining and moss growth.’
      • ‘The greasy water did put out the fire, but the dress was burnt, torn and stained.’
      • ‘The mattresses are very old and stained, and are often wrapped in plastic so the children don't get even sicker from being in contact with the dirty mattresses.’
      • ‘Their fingers are stained and their teeth are yellow and their breath smells of smoke, and still, I don't say a thing.’
      • ‘Grouting can also stain - specialist grout cleaners are available from DIY shops or Relics of Witney.’
      • ‘Soft contact lenses and clothing may be permanently stained.’
      • ‘He had came back, light-hearted and happy, but muddy and grass stained.’
      • ‘Is the cotton plug or filler in the bottle torn, sticky, or stained, or does it appear to have been taken out and put back?’
      • ‘More than half of the bed frames were dusty or stained.’
    2. 1.2 Damage or bring disgrace to (the reputation or image of someone or something)
      ‘the awful events would unfairly stain the city's reputation’
      • ‘They didn't want the actions of a few to stain the reputations of many.’
      • ‘Have his actions stained the national honour?’
      • ‘A woman who dared defy this tradition was despised by her family for staining the reputation of her in-laws.’
      • ‘Thinking back over Freddy's past attacks, I felt dirty and stained.’
      • ‘We ask you not to allow the despicable act of one person to stain the reputation of an entire community of good, hard-working people.’
      • ‘And not only are we ignoring world opinion, we have stained our national reputation by throwing around lies.’
      • ‘We are used to reading court reports in which the identity of minor offenders is concealed so that their characters are not irretrievably stained.’
      • ‘In seeking a third term, he's breaking a two-term limit pledge, which has stained his image as a populist man of principle.’
      • ‘At a minimum, I believe that the Court's inexcusable ruling will severely stain its reputation for years to come, perhaps decades.’
      • ‘Miscarriages of justice stained the reputation of the service.’
      • ‘You were betrayed by my country and my country is stained by your blood.’
      • ‘Indeed, he moaned so constantly during the journey, sitting as he was on a rusty stool, so as to permanently stain his reputation as a man.’
      • ‘Thou hast wronged me deeply and it stains thy honour.’
      • ‘His reputation is stained with recklessness and disorder.’
      • ‘And the bankruptcy black mark stains your credit history for 10 years.’
      • ‘As such it wants to ensure that firms do nothing to stain their reputation when they ship jobs overseas.’
      • ‘John Chivington's reputation was irrevocably stained by the attack on Sand Creek.’
      damage, injure, harm, sully, soil, blacken, tarnish, taint, besmirch, blemish, defile, blot, smear, bring discredit to, dishonour, drag through the mud
      View synonyms
  • 2Color (a material or object) by applying a penetrative dye or chemical.

    ‘wood can always be stained to a darker shade’
    • ‘The wood trim throughout the home had previously been stained almost black.’
    • ‘None of the wood is stained, and some trees even retain their bark.’
    • ‘For instance, one sizable jar contained conjoined twin lambs, their wool stained orange by the medium in which they were immersed.’
    • ‘To achieve this, she made the built-in desk and shelves look as much like furniture as possible, using molding at the top of the cabinets and staining the natural wood.’
    • ‘A root sample was stained with trypan blue for the determination of root colonization by G. intraradices, following the method described previously.’
    • ‘Osmium tetroxide is used by scientists to stain materials and as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions.’
    • ‘It was on paper stained by one of their chemicals to simulate antique parchment.’
    • ‘Personally, I like to grow them in simple, inexpensive half-barrels stained darkest matt green.’
    • ‘Slides were stained with hematoxylin/eosin or propidium iodide.’
    • ‘The specimens were fixed in formalin, and paraffin sections were stained with hematoxylin-eosin and saffron.’
    • ‘You can fill in nail holes with wood putty/dough before sanding if you are not planning to stain the wood.’
    • ‘The paintings are also stained here and there with pale, translucent washes of chromatic dye.’
    • ‘Thin sections were placed on the grids for electron microscopy and stained with lead citrate.’
    • ‘Among the structures found in the developing limb, the patterning of the cartilage has been the best studied, as this can be stained and seen easily in whole mounts of the embryonic limb.’
    • ‘Prime and paint or stain the new boards to match the rest of the house.’
    • ‘Repeat until the entire deck is stained with two coats.’
    • ‘Colonies were stained with iodine vapors and photographed.’
    • ‘Weeds must be controlled, and the use of chemicals may stain the material.’
    • ‘This stuff will stain wood among other things and is bad for your lungs.’
    • ‘After electrophoresis, the agarose gels were stained with ethidium bromide and visualized by ultraviolet light.’
    colour, tint, dye, tinge, shade, pigment
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A colored patch or dirty mark that is difficult to remove.

    ‘there were mud stains on my shoes’
    • ‘Then when I tried to spit on my fingers and clean the stains they become dirty mud stains.’
    • ‘Trouble is it's so hot it's difficult to remove those stubborn stains.’
    • ‘If the shirt has cycled through the dryer, the stain may be more difficult to remove.’
    • ‘I spent a very pleasant weekend removing the stains from a few linen napkins, and then researching the care of antique linen.’
    • ‘Did you know that you could use white toothpaste to remove green ice pop stains from your kitchen counter?’
    • ‘Darker shoes are also less likely to look dirty simply because stains won't show as much.’
    • ‘To remove mildew stains from Venetian blinds, mix together some fine emery powder and linseed oil.’
    • ‘Tear stains marked my T-shirt and my nose was sore from sniffing so much.’
    • ‘White wine vinegar can bring sparkle to windows, lemon juice and warm water is a great alternative to bleach and baking soda can remove stains from carpets as well as dissolve dirt and grease.’
    • ‘Anna was dressed in a dirty nightgown with mud stains on her.’
    • ‘This gel will remove most stubborn stains and is excellent for removing grease from carpets and for washing greasy clothes.’
    • ‘Remove streaks or heat stains from stainless steel by rubbing with club soda.’
    • ‘Cut lilies should be handled with care: the pollen on the stamens easily rubs off onto clothes leaving a stain that's difficult to remove.’
    • ‘Yet, experts also warned that because such detergents are better at removing dirt and stains, they retain a certain market share throughout the country.’
    • ‘Wash all removable shelves and bins, letting them soak in the sink to remove tough stains.’
    • ‘The longer you wait the harder stains are to remove.’
    • ‘Most stains will come out in the wash, or with the added help of a pre-wash stain remover.’
    • ‘Tooth-whitening toothpastes can remove some stains and help keep your teeth clean in the short term.’
    • ‘He was wearing a long, dowdy beige jacket, the edges of which were marked with mud and grass stains.’
    • ‘Once the cup is entirely clean (including those hard to remove tea stains on the bottom of the cup) rinse it in hot water.’
    mark, spot, spatter, splatter, blotch, blemish, smudge, smear
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A thing that damages or brings disgrace to someone or something's reputation.
      ‘he regarded his time in jail as a stain on his character’
      • ‘That does not remove the stain from the District Court record.’
      • ‘They were just outraged, because it was such a stain on them, as well.’
      • ‘Once one's credibility has been tarnished, it is difficult to remove the stain.’
      • ‘The slave trade was a horrible stain on our country's history, but we need to move on in order for us to achieve.’
      • ‘In return, the stain of dishonor he's brought to his clan will be cleansed.’
      • ‘In your final paragraph you suggest that the underclass is a stain on our society, which suggests we somehow create it.’
      • ‘Yet court after court had declared his innocence and removed the stain from his character like mud from his boots.’
      • ‘Fully 18 months after being suspended from duty they can go back to work without a stain on their reputations.’
      • ‘It was a ruthless bid for mainstream success, yet he emerged without a stain on his avant-garde credentials.’
      • ‘The character of Tess up to her last downfall… is consistent enough, and we do not object to the defiant blazon of a Pure Woman, notwithstanding the early stain.’
      • ‘He was freed on condition he returned to face the courts again, which he did last week to hear the judge quash the original verdict and release him without a stain on his character.’
      • ‘I think it's a stain on his integrity, but an understandable one.’
      • ‘It's their responsibility to verify that I'm not a shoplifter, and am free to go about the rest of my life without a stain on my character.’
      • ‘John Leslie was left ‘without a stain on his character’, according to the judge, but many newspapers disagreed.’
      • ‘That it is largely ignored is a stain on the reputation of those who would have us believe they have the good of the theatre at heart.’
      • ‘The prosecution and judge both said he left court ‘without a stain on his character’.’
      • ‘Religious exercises could not affect the social stain of dishonor.’
      • ‘There is nothing in us that can remove the self-inflicted stain and blemish on that image.’
      • ‘It is a story of savage in-fighting which has left a bloody stain on the club's reputation.’
      • ‘If he resigns now, his exit would leave a stain on his entire career.’
      blemish, injury, taint, blot, blot on one's escutcheon, slur, smear, discredit, dishonour, stigma
      View synonyms
  • 2A penetrative dye or chemical used in coloring a material or object.

    • ‘If finish is thus worn, then perhaps blotting food coloring with chlorine bleach will lift the dye stain.’
    • ‘Chemical stains and polymer toppings are now being distributed through construction supply houses.’
    • ‘As in the case of sandblast stenciling, chemical stains can be applied before or after stencils are placed.’
    • ‘A varnish stain or polyurethane in clear or tinted is another choice for redwood, cypress and cedar.’
    • ‘He then highlighted the existing color with chemical stains.’
    • ‘These stains penetrate the wood surface, are porous, and do not form a surface film like paint.’
    • ‘Allen reports that his company sometimes uses chemical stains to add final colors.’
    • ‘They cut borders and pattern lines into the surface to separate different applications of colored chemical stains.’
    • ‘Penetrating stains or preservative treatments are preferred for rough sawn lumber.’
    • ‘The glue seals the wood so it will not accept stain or coloring to the same degree as the surrounding area does.’
    • ‘Advise the students of safety issues and of the possibility of chemical stains.’
    • ‘On the inside walls and floor, make sure to avoid wood treated with stains or chemicals that could harm hatchlings.’
    • ‘If your home is enhanced with natural woodwork, you may also want to consider the chemical content of the stains and waxes you use on it.’
    • ‘Also, when slabs won't accept chemical stains, they can be sprayed with white Spray Top and then successfully be stained.’
    • ‘And remember, treat oily or waxy stains first, then treat protein, tannin and dye stains.’
    • ‘The owners painted the ceiling off-white and applied a stain to the rustic beams to make them look like driftwood.’
    • ‘Now several companies are providing training for stamped concrete, polymer overlays, and chemical stains.’
    • ‘They will take chemical stains differently, too, if that's what you intend to use.’
    • ‘Many of the commonly used stains and stain combinations are represented in this atlas.’
    • ‘The wood grain, visible through the stain, becomes almost calligraphic.’
    tint, colour, dye, tinge, shade, pigment, colourant
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Biology A special dye used to color organic tissue so as to make the structure visible for microscopic examination.
      • ‘Additional tissue sections and other histochemical stains were evaluated in individual cases as necessary.’
      • ‘A cytospin slide was also stained with a Papanicolaou stain and examined in cytology.’
      • ‘Mucicarmine, Alcian blue, elastic, and trichrome stains were used selectively to help define morphology.’
      • ‘A mucicarmine stain of the tissue was focally positive, but no capsular material was identified surrounding the organisms.’
      • ‘Elastic trichrome and trichrome stains of the liver tissue failed to show evidence of fibrosis.’
    2. 2.2Heraldry Any of the minor colors used in blazoning and liveries, especially tenné and sanguine.
      • ‘Next among the colours of heraldry are the three stains: tenné, murrey (supposedly a colour associated with mulberries) and sanguine (or blood colour).’
      • ‘Also, the abatements, which, were they in metals or colors, were rare but otherwise not unusual charges, were tinctured in the two stains: sanguine, better known as wine-color or murrey, and tenne or orange.’

Origin

Late Middle English (as a verb): shortening of archaic distain, from Old French desteindre ‘tinge with a color different from the natural one’. The noun was first recorded (mid 16th century) in the sense ‘defilement, disgrace’.

Pronunciation

stain

/stān//steɪn/