Definition of contaminate in English:


See synonyms for contaminate

Translate contaminate into Spanish

transitive verb

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

    ‘the site was found to be contaminated by radioactivity’
    • ‘celebrity has contaminated every aspect of public life’
    • ‘Apparently parents emit poisonous substances which contaminate their kids in much the same way that humans pollute the environment.’
    • ‘They added somebody stealing food can be jailed while those who poison people by contaminating food can get away scot free.’
    • ‘Groundwater will be polluted, which would contaminate drinking water.’
    • ‘He notes that although it was just water, there were dead fish and poison oak contaminating the water all over the course.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If not properly disposed of, these substances can contaminate ground water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chemicals in everyday products such as good packaging and cosmetics contaminate our air, water and soil.’
    • ‘It was approved only for animal feed but was found to be contaminating several corn products sold to consumers.’
    • ‘If mercury is found in local soil, it can contaminate the fish supply.’
    • ‘Many types of viral and bacterial pathogens that grow in the gut of infected people may contaminate water and food.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I think most people are tired of this way of contaminating the political agenda.’
    • ‘They must be dismantled on an impermeable surface to avoid contaminating the ground.’
    • ‘I think there's paranoia in the national press and that contaminates the foreign press.’
    • ‘They want to make sure that nothing contaminates the evidence.’
    • ‘The amount of mercury found in fish may be 3,000 times the original concentration in the contaminated water.’
    • ‘Sources of contaminated soils include manufacturers, businesses, retail establishments, government and individuals.’
    • ‘Air pollution can hurt animals and humans when they inhale contaminated air.’
    pollute, adulterate
    View synonyms



/kənˈtamənāt/ /kənˈtæməneɪt/


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’.