9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh n-tam-uh-ney-shuh n] /kənˌtæm əˈneɪ ʃən/
the act of contaminating, or of making something impure or unsuitable by contact with something unclean, bad, etc.
the act of contaminating, or of rendering something harmful or unusable by the addition of radioactive material:
the contamination of food following a nuclear attack.
the state of being contaminated:
The manufacturer recalled the product because of possible salmonella contamination.
Rare. something that contaminates a place or substance, as by making it impure, unsuitable, harmful, or unusable; a contaminant.
  1. an alternation in a linguistic form due to the influence of a related form, as the replacement in English of earlier femelle with female through the influence of male.
  2. the process of forming blends.
    Compare blend (def 9).
Origin of contamination
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English contaminacioun < Late Latin contāminātiōn- (stem of contāminātiō), equivalent to contāmināt(us) (see contaminate) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
noncontamination, noun
recontamination, noun
self-contamination, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contamination
  • Both types of contamination can render the water unusable.
  • It says that the contamination outside the perimeter is not significant.
  • Economic repercussions hinge on intensity of nuclear contamination.
  • He thought there must have been some sort of contamination in the lab.
  • The contamination occurred when a manufacturer shipped tainted fat for use in animals' food pellets.
  • At one time the college had wanted to sell the land, but could not because of the contamination.
  • Commercial water filters vary widely in their effectiveness against different types of contamination.
  • Anyone who is that freaky about food contamination probably wouldn't be storing food in a communal fridge anyway.
  • Any problems with contamination or poorly-controlled work would be called out in the courtroom by any well-prepared attorney.
  • Rain will into the plant washing nuclear contamination into sea.
British Dictionary definitions for contamination


the act or process of contaminating or the state of being contaminated
something that contaminates
(linguistics) the process by which one word or phrase is altered because of mistaken associations with another word or phrase; for example, the substitution of irregardless for regardless by association with such words as irrespective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contamination

early 15c., from Latin contaminationem (nominative contaminatio), noun of action from past participle stem of contaminare (see contaminate). Figurative sense is from c.1620; specifically of radioactivity from 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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contamination in Medicine

contamination con·tam·i·na·tion (kən-tām'ə-nā'shən)

  1. The act or process of rendering something harmful or unsuitable.

  2. The presence of extraneous, especially infectious, material that renders a substance or preparation impure or harmful.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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