Definition of stain in English:

stain

Pronunciation /stān/ /steɪn/

transitive 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’
    • ‘If you wait, it may be too late to safely remove the spot without staining or discoloring the fabric.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I couldn't help but notice his teeth were stained a faint yellow, probably from consumption of too many cigars.’
    • ‘The most prominently stained sites are marked with triangles and numbered from distal to proximal to serve as landmarks.’
    • ‘My parents gave me a small dog which I love dearly, but she has caused havoc by urinating on the lawn, staining it yellow.’
    • ‘Thank you for making me laugh by saying I looked like a monster after the charcoal stained my teeth black.’
    • ‘And then there was the dishevelled-looking crooked old man in a dirty stained raincoat and muddy boots.’
    • ‘The carpet was white at one time, but smoke and time had stained it yellow.’
    • ‘Known in ancient Greece, this plant was also called ‘sallow thorn’ because the berries can stain the skin yellow.’
    • ‘An ugly gash ran up her left leg and blood had stained the carpet.’
    • ‘For young women, and young men, chewing sepa, and having stained teeth, is considered old fashioned and unattractive.’
    • ‘Her smile reveals the solitary stained tooth giving character to her mouth, possibly confirming the witch theory to the cynical.’
    • ‘if you stain that there'll be serious consequences.’
    • ‘Iced tea is a light brown shade and will stain the white cloth covering the table just like the cranberries.’
    • ‘The act of crushing leaves or flowers with a hammer releases pigments that stain 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.’
    • ‘Or you might stain light-colored paper with tea, coffee or crepe paper.’
    • ‘The ceiling's decorations were heavily stained with smoke while most of the flooring was broken.’
    • ‘He remembered seeing his mother sewing the flag; he remembered how she had cried, how her tears had stained the fabric.’
    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.
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘He had came back, light-hearted and happy, but muddy and grass stained.’
      • ‘Slabs need to be sealed to prevent staining and moss growth.’
      • ‘More than half of the bed frames were dusty or stained.’
      • ‘I got out the pages of my calculations, by now curling and stained.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The stucco is chipped and stained and peeling off like sunburned skin; the lawn expired months ago.’
      • ‘There it comes sliding down the luggage ramp: flattened, tattered, stained, wonderfully unappealing.’
      • ‘The greasy water did put out the fire, but the dress was burnt, torn and 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.’
      • ‘Grouting can also stain - specialist grout cleaners are available from DIY shops or Relics of Witney.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Handwritten on scraps of paper, crumpled and often stained, they may be hard to decipher at times.’
      • ‘Little Sye was sitting on the grass, her dress stained and dirty.’
      • ‘Luckily, it was a dark red shirt, so hopefully even if it stains, it won't be visible.’
      • ‘The writer goes on to describe granite as a ‘porous stone, meaning it can be easily stained.’’
      • ‘His Academy uniform is as stiff and properly worn as any I've seen, but the material is stained and patched.’
      • ‘Their fingers are stained and their teeth are yellow and their breath smells of smoke, and still, I don't say a thing.’
      • ‘Soft contact lenses and clothing may be permanently stained.’
    2. 1.2Damage or bring disgrace to (the reputation or image of someone or something)
      ‘the awful events would unfairly stain the city's reputation’
      • ‘His reputation is stained with recklessness and disorder.’
      • ‘A woman who dared defy this tradition was despised by her family for staining the reputation of her in-laws.’
      • ‘And not only are we ignoring world opinion, we have stained our national reputation by throwing around lies.’
      • ‘At a minimum, I believe that the Court's inexcusable ruling will severely stain its reputation for years to come, perhaps decades.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘John Chivington's reputation was irrevocably stained by the attack on Sand Creek.’
      • ‘In seeking a third term, he's breaking a two-term limit pledge, which has stained his image as a populist man of principle.’
      • ‘Miscarriages of justice stained the reputation of the service.’
      • ‘They didn't want the actions of a few to stain the reputations of many.’
      • ‘As such it wants to ensure that firms do nothing to stain their reputation when they ship jobs overseas.’
      • ‘Have his actions stained the national honour?’
      • ‘Thou hast wronged me deeply and it stains thy honour.’
      • ‘And the bankruptcy black mark stains your credit history for 10 years.’
      • ‘You were betrayed by my country and my country is stained by your blood.’
      • ‘We are used to reading court reports in which the identity of minor offenders is concealed so that their characters are not irretrievably stained.’
      • ‘Thinking back over Freddy's past attacks, I felt dirty and stained.’
      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’
    • ‘Prime and paint or stain the new boards to match the rest of the house.’
    • ‘Weeds must be controlled, and the use of chemicals may stain the material.’
    • ‘It was on paper stained by one of their chemicals to simulate antique parchment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This stuff will stain wood among other things and is bad for your lungs.’
    • ‘None of the wood is stained, and some trees even retain their bark.’
    • ‘Osmium tetroxide is used by scientists to stain materials and as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Repeat until the entire deck is stained with two coats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A root sample was stained with trypan blue for the determination of root colonization by G. intraradices, following the method described previously.’
    • ‘Colonies were stained with iodine vapors and photographed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After electrophoresis, the agarose gels were stained with ethidium bromide and visualized by ultraviolet light.’
    • ‘For instance, one sizable jar contained conjoined twin lambs, their wool stained orange by the medium in which they were immersed.’
    • ‘Personally, I like to grow them in simple, inexpensive half-barrels stained darkest matt green.’
    • ‘The wood trim throughout the home had previously been stained almost black.’
    • ‘Thin sections were placed on the grids for electron microscopy and stained with lead citrate.’
    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.’
    • ‘Anna was dressed in a dirty nightgown with mud stains on her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet, experts also warned that because such detergents are better at removing dirt and stains, they retain a certain market share throughout the country.’
    • ‘Did you know that you could use white toothpaste to remove green ice pop stains from your kitchen counter?’
    • ‘The longer you wait the harder stains are to remove.’
    • ‘This gel will remove most stubborn stains and is excellent for removing grease from carpets and for washing greasy clothes.’
    • ‘Wash all removable shelves and bins, letting them soak in the sink to remove tough stains.’
    • ‘Darker shoes are also less likely to look dirty simply because stains won't show as much.’
    • ‘Most stains will come out in the wash, or with the added help of a pre-wash stain remover.’
    • ‘Remove streaks or heat stains from stainless steel by rubbing with club soda.’
    • ‘To remove mildew stains from Venetian blinds, mix together some fine emery powder and linseed oil.’
    • ‘Tooth-whitening toothpastes can remove some stains and help keep your teeth clean in the short term.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was wearing a long, dowdy beige jacket, the edges of which were marked with mud and grass stains.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I spent a very pleasant weekend removing the stains from a few linen napkins, and then researching the care of antique linen.’
    • ‘Tear stains marked my T-shirt and my nose was sore from sniffing so much.’
    • ‘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. 1.1A thing that damages or brings disgrace to someone or something's reputation.
      ‘he regarded his time in jail as a stain on his character’
      • ‘Fully 18 months after being suspended from duty they can go back to work without a stain on their reputations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is a story of savage in-fighting which has left a bloody stain on the club's reputation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘John Leslie was left ‘without a stain on his character’, according to the judge, but many newspapers disagreed.’
      • ‘They were just outraged, because it was such a stain on them, as well.’
      • ‘The slave trade was a horrible stain on our country's history, but we need to move on in order for us to achieve.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think it's a stain on his integrity, but an understandable one.’
      • ‘If he resigns now, his exit would leave a stain on his entire career.’
      • ‘It was a ruthless bid for mainstream success, yet he emerged without a stain on his avant-garde credentials.’
      • ‘The prosecution and judge both said he left court ‘without a stain on his character’.’
      • ‘In your final paragraph you suggest that the underclass is a stain on our society, which suggests we somehow create it.’
      • ‘Once one's credibility has been tarnished, it is difficult to remove the stain.’
      • ‘Yet court after court had declared his innocence and removed the stain from his character like mud from his boots.’
      • ‘There is nothing in us that can remove the self-inflicted stain and blemish on that image.’
      • ‘That does not remove the stain from the District Court record.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In return, the stain of dishonor he's brought to his clan will be cleansed.’
      • ‘Religious exercises could not affect the social stain of dishonor.’
      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.

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

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/