adulterate

If you adulterate something, you mess it up. You may not want to adulterate the beauty of freshly fallen snow by shoveling it, but how else are you going to get to work?

The verb adulterate comes from the Latin word adulterare, which means “to falsify,” or “to corrupt.” Whenever something original, pure, fresh, or wholesome is marred, polluted, defaced, or otherwise made inferior, it has been adulterated. Your grandfather may, for instance, believe that bartenders adulterate the name “Martini” by applying it to combinations of vodka, chocolate or anything other than a mixture of five parts gin to one part dry vermouth, on the rocks, with a twist.

Definitions of adulterate
  1. verb
    corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones
    adulterate liquor”
    synonyms: debase, dilute, load, stretch
    extend, stretch
    increase in quantity or bulk by adding a cheaper substance
    see moresee less
    types:
    water down
    thin by adding water to
    doctor, doctor up, sophisticate
    alter and make impure, as with the intention to deceive
    type of:
    corrupt, spoil
    alter from the original
  2. adjective
    mixed with impurities
    synonyms: adulterated, debased
    impure
    combined with extraneous elements
Word Family