contaminate

The verb contaminate means the same as pollute. Whether it’s food, air, or water, when you contaminate something, you make it impure or hazardous.

Contaminate comes from the Latin word contaminat-, meaning “made impure.” You can use the word to indicate that a hazardous substance has been introduced into something else, such as food that is contaminated with mold. It can also be used figuratively to describe the spoiling of a good thing, like one person's habit of gossiping that can contaminate a conversation among friends.

Definitions of contaminate
1

v make impure

Synonyms:
foul, pollute
Types:
infect, taint
contaminate with a disease or microorganism
superinfect
infect (an infected cell) further or infect a cell already containing similar organisms
smut
affect with smut or mildew, as of a crop such as corn
Type of:
begrime, bemire, colly, dirty, grime, soil
make soiled, filthy, or dirty

v make radioactive by adding radioactive material

“Don't drink the water--it's contaminated
Antonyms:
decontaminate
rid of contamination
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.