verb (used with object)
to affect or contaminate (a person, organ, wound, etc.) with disease-producing germs.
to affect with disease.
to taint or contaminate with something that affects quality, character, or condition unfavorably: to infect the air with poison gas.
to corrupt or affect morally: The news of the gold strike infected him with greed.
to imbue with some pernicious belief, opinion, etc.
to affect with a computer virus.
to affect so as to influence feeling or action: His courage infected the others.
Law. to taint with illegality, or expose to penalty, forfeiture, etc.
verb (used without object)
to become infected.
Archaic. infected.

1350–1400; Middle English infecten < Latin infectus (past participle of inficere to immerse in dye, discolor, taint, poison), equivalent to in- in-2 + -fec-, combining form of facere to do1, make (see fact) + -tus past participle suffix

infectant, adjective
infectedness, noun
infector, infecter, noun
noninfected, adjective
noninfecting, adjective
preinfect, verb (used with object)
reinfect, verb (used with object)
uninfected, adjective

1. afflict, infect, inflict ; 2. infect, infest, invest.

5. damage, corrupt. 6. touch, stir, arouse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
infect (ɪnˈfɛkt)
1.  to cause infection in; contaminate (an organism, wound, etc) with pathogenic microorganisms
2.  (also intr) to affect or become affected with a communicable disease
3.  to taint, pollute, or contaminate
4.  to affect, esp adversely, as if by contagion
5.  computing to affect with a computer virus
6.  chiefly international law to taint with crime or illegality; expose to penalty or subject to forfeiture
7.  archaic contaminated or polluted with or as if with a disease; infected
[C14: from Latin inficere to dip into, stain, from facere to make]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from L. infectus, pp. of inficere "to spoil, stain," lit. "to put in," from in- "in" + facere "perform" (see factitious). Infection is 1548 in sense of "communication of disease by agency of air or water" (distinguished from contagion, which is body-to-body
communication). Infectious "catching, having the quality of spreading from person to person" is 1542 of diseases, 1611 of emotions, actions, etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

infect in·fect (ĭn-fěkt')
v. in·fect·ed, in·fect·ing, in·fects

  1. To contaminate with a pathogenic microorganism or agent.

  2. To communicate a pathogen or disease to another organism.

  3. To invade and produce infection in an organ or body part.

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