from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make impure by adding extraneous, improper, or inferior ingredients.
  • adj. Spurious; adulterated.
  • adj. Adulterous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Tending to commit adultery.
  • adj. Corrupted; impure; adulterated.
  • v. To corrupt.
  • v. To spoil by adding impurities.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tainted with adultery.
  • adj. Debased by the admixture of a foreign substance; adulterated; spurious.
  • intransitive v. To commit adultery.
  • transitive v. To defile by adultery.
  • transitive v. To corrupt, debase, or make impure by an admixture of a foreign or a baser substance

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To debase or deteriorate by an admixture of foreign or baser materials or elements: as, to adulterate food, drugs, or coins; adulterated doctrines.
  • To graft; give a hybrid character to.
  • To defile by adultery.
  • Synonyms To mix, degrade, corrupt, contaminate, vitiate, alloy, sophisticate.
  • To commit adultery.
  • Tainted with adultery: as, “the adulterate Hastings,”
  • Debased by foreign mixture; adulterated: as, “adulterate copper,” Swift, Miscellanies.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. mixed with impurities
  • v. corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance; often by replacing valuable ingredients with inferior ones


Latin adulterāre, adulterāt-, to pollute; see al-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Dated 16th Century CE; modified from adulteration, likely with earlier origin in the Latin past‐participle adulteratus. (Wiktionary)



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