Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To discolor, soil, or spot.
  • intransitive verb To bring into disrepute; taint or tarnish.
  • intransitive verb To change the color of (a piece of wood, for example) by applying a stain.
  • intransitive verb To treat (a specimen for the microscope) with a reagent or dye in order to identify cell or tissue structures or microorganisms.
  • intransitive verb To produce or receive discolorations.
  • noun A discolored or soiled spot or smudge.
  • noun A diminishment of one's moral character or good reputation by being associated with something disgraceful.
  • noun A liquid substance applied especially to wood that penetrates the surface and imparts a rich color.
  • noun A reagent or dye used for staining microscopic specimens.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Specifically, a solution of a dye used in microscopical work to render more readily visible various structures, and for purposes of differentiation.
  • noun A spot; a discoloration, especially a discoloration produced by contact with foreign matter by external causes or influences: as, mildew-stains.
  • noun A blot; a blemish; a cause of reproach or disgrace: as, a stain on one's character.
  • noun In entomology, a well-defined spot of color which appears to be semi-transparent, so that it merely modifies the ground-color: it may be produced by very fine dots, as on a butterfly's wing.
  • noun Taint; tarnish; evil or corrupting effect: as, the stain of sin.
  • noun Slight trace; tinge; tincture.
  • noun Coloring matter; a liquid used to color wood, ivory, etc., by absorption.
  • To discolor, as by the application of some foreign matter; make foul; spot: as, to stain the hand with dye, or with tobacco-juice; to stain the clothes.
  • To soil or sully with guilt or infamy; tarnish; bring reproach on; corrupt; deprave: as, to stain the character; stained with guilt.
  • To deface; disfigure; impair, as shape, beauty, or excellence.
  • To color by a process other than painting or coating or covering the surface.
  • To print colors upon (especially upon paper-hangings).
  • To darken; dim; obscure.
  • Hence To eclipse; excel.
  • To cause a stain or discoloration.
  • To take stains; become stained, soiled, or sullied; grow dim; be obscured.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To discolor by the application of foreign matter; to make foul; to spot.
  • transitive verb To color, as wood, glass, paper, cloth, or the like, by processes affecting, chemically or otherwise, the material itself; to tinge with a color or colors combining with, or penetrating, the substance; to dye.
  • transitive verb To spot with guilt or infamy; to bring reproach on; to blot; to soil; to tarnish.
  • transitive verb To cause to seem inferior or soiled by comparison.
  • transitive verb glass colored or stained by certain metallic pigments fused into its substance, -- often used for making ornamental windows.
  • intransitive verb To give or receive a stain; to grow dim.
  • noun A discoloration by foreign matter; a spot.
  • noun A natural spot of a color different from the gound.
  • noun Taint of guilt; tarnish; disgrace; reproach.
  • noun Cause of reproach; shame.
  • noun rare A tincture; a tinge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A discoloured spot or area.
  • noun A blemish on one's character or reputation.
  • noun A substance used to soak into a surface and colour it.
  • noun A reagent or dye used to stain microscope specimens so as to make some structures visible.
  • verb To discolour something
  • verb To taint or tarnish someone's character or reputation
  • verb To coat a surface with a stain
  • verb To treat a microscope specimen with a dye

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

  • verb color with a liquid dye or tint
  • verb make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
  • noun a soiled or discolored appearance
  • noun a symbol of disgrace or infamy
  • noun the state of being covered with unclean things
  • verb color for microscopic study

Etymologies

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

[Middle English steinen, partly from Old French desteindre, desteign-, to deprive of color (des-, dis- + teindre, to dye, from Latin tingere), and partly from Old Norse steina, to paint.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English steinen, steynen ("to stain, colour, paint"), of North Germanic origin, from Old Norse steina ("to stain, colour, paint"), from steinn ("stone, mineral blee, colour, stain"), from Proto-Germanic *stainaz (“stone”), from Proto-Indo-European *stAy- (“stone”). Cognate with Old English stān ("stone"). More at stone.

Examples

  • III. iv.26 (182,7) I'll raise the preparation of a war/Shall stain your brother] [T: strain] I do not see but _stain_ may be allowed to remain unaltered, meaning no more than _shame_ or _disgrace_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • She already has drawn 5 tattoos upon her body as well as this neck permanent skin stain is 6th one.

    Rihanna Neck Tattoo

  • She already has drawn 5 tattoos upon her body as well as this neck permanent skin stain is 6th one.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • The word stain often carries these ugly definitions: blemish, tarnish, and soil.

    Babes with a Beatitude

  • Mr. Obama in January issued an executive order to close Guantanamo, which he called a stain on the U. S.'s global reputation, within a year, in line with a pledge he made on the campaign trail.

    U.S. Expected to Miss Deadline on Detainee Policy

  • He pointed out what he called the stain of slavery inherent in the text, before praising "the ideal of equal citizenship under the law" that would later flourish.

    James Freedman: Obama on Race vs. Romney on Religion

  • The depth of color of the stain is a function of the kiln temperature, the proportion of silver to ocher, and the number of times the process is repeated.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • Punctuation as emotion may be new, but reading pictures dates back to Neolithic times, and was used with powerful effect in stain glass for illiterate church goers.

    Stinky

  • Tattoos have become a conform trend as well as so much so renouned now-a-days which everybody wishes to pull a permanent skin stain upon a skin.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • Tattoos have become a conform trend as well as so much so renouned now-a-days which everybody wishes to pull a permanent skin stain upon a skin.

    Rihanna Neck Tattoo

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