verb (used with object), con·tam·i·nat·ed, con·tam·i·nat·ing.

  1. to make impure or unsuitable by contact or mixture with something unclean, bad, etc.: to contaminate a lake with sewage.
  2. to render harmful or unusable by adding radioactive material to: to contaminate a laboratory.


  1. something that contaminates or carries contamination; contaminant.


  1. Obsolete. contaminated.


  1. not having been polluted, infected, or made impure

verb (kənˈtæmɪˌneɪt) (tr)

  1. to make impure, esp by touching or mixing; pollute
  2. to make radioactive by the addition of radioactive material

adjective (kənˈtæmɪnɪt, -ˌneɪt)

  1. archaic contaminated

v.early 15c., from Old French contaminer, from Latin contaminatus, past participle of contaminare “to defile,” from contamen “contact, pollution,” from com- “together” (see com-) + *tag-, base of tangere “to touch” (see tangent). Related: Contaminant (1934); contaminable. v.

  1. To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.
  2. To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.

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