Definition of taint in English:



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

    ‘the taint of corruption that adhered to the regime’
    • ‘It would be wise for the ruling party to remember that it is not completely free of the taint of corruption.’
    • ‘It is sad that the taint of financial jiggery-pokery should besmirch his image as he leaves office, and very unfair.’
    • ‘Two decades on, Wednesdays, for me, still carry the unwelcome taint of gym class and I hate being so far away from managing what other people seem to find so simple.’
    • ‘In the end it was the taint of sleaze that destroyed his reputation.’
    • ‘While such a grand opening establishes Tripper's orchestral sweep, the rustic harmonium that follows dismisses any taint of pretension.’
    • ‘Jung says the company hasn't suffered any taint from scandals elsewhere.’
    • ‘Although Luna Papa strives for a balance of laughs and drama, the taint of human cruelty and violence is so strong that many of the comedic elements feel forced.’
    • ‘And therefore, Dorothy Dunnett is absolved of any taint of anachronism.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, she's skeptical that new guidelines will free the public system of the taint of private interest.’
    • ‘Many Scottish Criminal Records Office staff also support such an inquiry so that, by identifying the guilty, the taint of suspicion can be lifted from the innocent.’
    • ‘Only if racing is conducted free of the taint of corruption will the sport survive and prosper.’
    • ‘You probably know this, but Rousseau argues that we're all born good, without taint of sin, and society inexorably corrupts us.’
    • ‘All of the farmers whose stories appear here purchased their farms under the present regime, free of any taint of colonialism.’
    • ‘The financing of political activity and membership of parliament should be both open to scrutiny and free of any taint of special favour.’
    • ‘There was a taint of black spot within the clear white crystal.’
    • ‘Although it is profitable and growing fast, the company is only now shaking off the taint of six straight years of losses and a cashflow crisis that almost finished it off two years ago.’
    • ‘We regard flawed things all the time - is the smallest taint of offensiveness reason enough to condemn something?’
    • ‘Most importantly, as a place to write music, a console doesn't have that taint of school or music-lesson.’
    • ‘Obviously, schools are unwilling to risk employing individuals who might carry the taint of suspicion, even if it is unfounded.’
    • ‘In 1948 he and a group of friends from his rarefied social circle started Mad River Glen about 25 miles away, vowing to preserve their creation from all taint of vulgarity.’
    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 A thing whose influence or effect is perceived as contaminating or undesirable.
      ‘the taint that threatens to stain most of the company's other partners’
      • ‘The problem is that I am apparently carrying a taint.’
      • ‘The three sculptures on show have a macabre taint but, in each piece, the nightmarish quality resonates at a different pitch.’
      • ‘Jaehli stood up abruptly, rubbing her hands on her pants as if trying to remove some imaginary taint. * Ugh!’
      • ‘A low level of taint will disappear in a few minutes.’
      • ‘I feel contaminated by it, almost as if it's a taint upon my soul.’
      • ‘If the fever did not kill him, this magical taint surely would!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What its creative accounting can't do, though, is wash the taint off the network following this little advertising stunt.’
      • ‘One wants to keep this area, as it were, as free of taint as far as one can.’
      • ‘I mean, Celine Dion - there's no taint right now to playing Vegas.’
      • ‘Assimilation, with or without conversion to the majority faith, might succeed in masking this bedrock taint; it could not expunge it.’
      • ‘But that transition can be a difficult one - today's fame will never disappear, but its sparkle may curdle into a taint.’
      • ‘Right now, the judge has got to see that there's a possibility of some taint to this jury pool.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But what is a taint at the Centre is not a taint in the States.’
      • ‘Hannah picked, noticing how the tone of her voice had taken a sort of offensive taint.’
      • ‘What's being to protect our foodstuffs against taint and what can we expect to be the symptoms of such a thing?’
    2. 1.2 An unpleasant smell.
      ‘the lingering taint of creosote’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      View synonyms


  • 1 Contaminate or pollute (something)

    ‘the air was tainted by fumes from the cars’
    • ‘Lab tests showed that the birds ate grain tainted with insecticide.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The buttons on lifts, tainted with vague trails of dried-up fluids, never escape her consciousness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The residents claim that fish caught in local waters are tainted with oil deposits from the refinery.’
    • ‘Both of us were sick, after eating some tainted chocolate.’
    • ‘The substitute eliminates the problem of donated blood being tainted by infections or impurities.’
    • ‘Whether it's radiation unleashed or tainted food, how can we prevent harmful substances from being released into the environment?’
    • ‘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 stony surface was tainted with red iron and calcium, something that I had learned in school.’
    • ‘Salt water edged into the aquifer, tainting the drinking water of the burgeoning urban areas.’
    • ‘Even our fruits and vegetables get contaminated by these pathogens through exposure to tainted fertilizers and sewage sludge.’
    • ‘As discussed, transmission can occur through tainted blood transfusions as well as through intravenous drug use.’
    • ‘A meat processing plant in Southern California mixed ground beef tainted with E. coli with other ground beef.’
    • ‘The ash taints my skin and the torn sack cloth enshrouds my weakened body’
    • ‘The best way to avoid eating food tainted with toxic chemicals was to buy certified organic produce, Dixon argued.’
    • ‘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 results showed 17.2 percent of the 169 aircraft carried water tainted with total coliform bacteria.’
    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’
      • ‘The market has been tainted with poor quality products, dismal performance and overwhelming disappointment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Information collected by pollsters could be tainted by biases of survey questions as well as the biases of the pollsters themselves, said Heywood.’
      • ‘The words were like poison, sinking beneath my skin and tainting me.’
      • ‘In context though, the trite lyrics never taint the record's abundant qualities.’
      • ‘But some of the most prominent have been tainted by scandal.’
      • ‘His continued presence in government taints it with the noxious smell of cronyism.’
      • ‘Both tainted by scandal, they are also the most polarizing figures from each of their respective parties.’
      • ‘He placed his arrow tainted with a poison, which instantly knocks out a target, on his bow.’
      • ‘In particular, the workhouse was a shame that affected anyone tainted with its brush no matter what their birth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do you feel at all that your season has been slightly tainted now by this scandal?’
      • ‘You have two icons and one is pure and idealized, the other is tainted and dirtied.’
      • ‘He's smart and energetic and he's never been tainted by corruption or scandal.’
      • ‘She also trawls memories of her own childhood - her mother's accidental death, tainted with scandal, and her father collapsing in on himself.’
      • ‘Even those whose intentions are purely altruistic do not want to risk being tainted by accusations of trying to buy influence.’
      • ‘They stood in wait, a touch of nervousness undeniably tainting the air around them.’
      • ‘These pictures, all very considerable exercises in the craft of painting, are, for us, tainted by an unreality which can seem pernicious.’
      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.
      • ‘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!"’
      • ‘When ice is covered, odors will accumulate and the food will taint.’
      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.