9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[teynt] /teɪnt/
a trace of something bad, offensive, or harmful.
a trace of infection, contamination, or the like.
a trace of dishonor or discredit.
Obsolete. color; tint.
verb (used with object)
to modify by or as if by a trace of something offensive or deleterious.
to infect, contaminate, corrupt, or spoil.
to sully or tarnish (a person's name, reputation, etc.).
Obsolete. to color or tint.
verb (used without object)
to become tainted; spoil.
Origin of taint1
late Middle English
1325-75; conflation of Middle English taynt, aphetic variant of attaint struck, attainted, past participle of attainten to attaint; late Middle English taynt hue, tint < Anglo-French teint (< Latin tinctus, equivalent to ting(ere) to dye, tinge + -tus suffix of v. action); and teinte < Late Latin tincta inked stroke, noun use of feminine of past participle of tingere
Related forms
untainted, adjective
untainting, adjective
1. defect, spot, flaw, fault. 1, 7. blemish, stain. 6. defile, pollute, poison. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tainted
  • The majority were caused by tainted meat or dairy products.
  • But the groups have been tainted with some scandals because their approval is a requirement for receiving federal student aid.
  • Those facts are so tainted by special interest groups on both sides of this, that the truth may never be readily available.
  • The company has blamed suppliers for providing tainted milk.
  • It is ironic that a practice that has tainted the entire clinical-trial literature has been tolerated during this era.
  • We've all seen the stories about the tainted milk scandal and how poorly it was handled all round.
  • Within the next ten years half the rodents and insects in the tainted areas will die.
  • Then they have to keep it from becoming tainted by other genetic material.
  • They attribute a nationwide outbreak last year of salmonellosis, usually caused by tainted food, to tainted marijuana.
  • The decision represents a rare move for a university that received gifts tainted by criminal wrongdoing.
British Dictionary definitions for tainted


to affect or be affected by pollution or contamination: oil has tainted the water
to tarnish (someone's reputation, etc)
a defect or flaw: a taint on someone's reputation
a trace of contamination or infection
Derived Forms
taintless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: (influenced by attaint infected, from attain) from Old French teindre to dye, from Latin tingere to dye
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 tainted



1570s, "to corrupt, contaminate," also "to touch, tinge, imbue slightly" (1590s), from Middle English teynten "to convict, prove guilty" (late 14c.), partly from Old French ataint, past participle of ataindre "to touch upon, seize" (see attainder). Also from Anglo-French teinter "to color, dye" (early 15c.), from Old French teint (12c.), past participle of teindre "to dye, color," from Latin tingere (see tincture). Related: Tainted; tainting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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