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

  • n. Invasion by and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms in a bodily part or tissue, which may produce subsequent tissue injury and progress to overt disease through a variety of cellular or toxic mechanisms.
  • n. An instance of being infected.
  • n. An agent or a contaminated substance responsible for one's becoming infected.
  • n. The pathological state resulting from having been infected.
  • n. An infectious disease.
  • n. Moral contamination or corruption.
  • n. Ready communication of an emotion or attitude by contact or example.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act or process of infecting.
  • n. An uncontrolled growth of harmful microorganisms in a host.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process of infecting.
  • n. That which infects, or causes the communicated disease; any effluvium, miasm, or pestilential matter by which an infectious disease is caused.
  • n. The state of being infected; the condition of suffering from an infectious disease; contamination by morbific particles; the result of infecting influence; a prevailing disease; epidemic.
  • n. That which taints or corrupts morally.
  • n. Contamination by illegality, as in cases of contraband goods; implication.
  • n. Sympathetic communication of like qualities or emotions; influence.
  • n. A localized area of tissue which is inflamed by growth of microorganisms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of infecting.
  • n. The communication of disease or of disease-germs, whether by contact with a diseased person or with morbid or noxious matter, contaminated clothing, etc., or by poisonous exhalations from any source. Compare contagion, 1.
  • n. Contamination by illegality, as in possessing contraband goods, etc.
  • n. That which infects, or by which some quality or state is communicated.
  • n. That which taints, poisons, or corrupts by communication from one to another; contaminating influence: as, the infection of error, or of an evil example.
  • n. That by which disease is or may be communicated; an infecting agency; morbific emanation or influence; virus.
  • n. In grammar, a modification of a vowel-sound by another following, whereby the first takes on the sound of the second: applied to such modification in Celtic speech. Windisch, Irish Gram. (trans.).
  • n. In biology, the hypothetical influence upon the tissues of the mother animal by the sperm of a male, such that subsequent offspring of the mother by other sires are infected with the characteristics of the first sire: a hypothesis invented to account for telegony. See telegony.

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

  • n. an incident in which an infectious disease is transmitted
  • n. the pathological state resulting from the invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms
  • n. the communication of an attitude or emotional state among a number of people
  • n. moral corruption or contamination
  • n. (international law) illegality that taints or contaminates a ship or cargo rendering it liable to seizure
  • n. (medicine) the invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms and their multiplication which can lead to tissue damage and disease
  • n. (phonetics) the alteration of a speech sound under the influence of a neighboring sound


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin *infectiō.



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