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

  • transitive v. To discolor, soil, or spot.
  • transitive v. To bring into disrepute; taint or tarnish.
  • transitive v. To color (glass, for example) with a coat of penetrating liquid dye or tint.
  • transitive v. To treat (specimens for the microscope) with a reagent or dye that makes visible certain structures without affecting others.
  • intransitive v. To produce or receive discolorations.
  • n. A discolored or soiled spot or smudge.
  • n. A blemish on one's moral character or reputation.
  • n. A liquid substance applied especially to wood that penetrates the surface and imparts a rich color.
  • n. A reagent or dye used for staining microscopic specimens.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A discoloration by foreign matter; a spot.
  • n. A natural spot of a color different from the gound.
  • n. Taint of guilt; tarnish; disgrace; reproach.
  • n. Cause of reproach; shame.
  • n. A tincture; a tinge.
  • intransitive v. To give or receive a stain; to grow dim.
  • transitive v. To discolor by the application of foreign matter; to make foul; to spot.
  • transitive v. 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 v. To spot with guilt or infamy; to bring reproach on; to blot; to soil; to tarnish.
  • transitive v. To cause to seem inferior or soiled by comparison.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A spot; a discoloration, especially a discoloration produced by contact with foreign matter by external causes or influences: as, mildew-stains.
  • n. A blot; a blemish; a cause of reproach or disgrace: as, a stain on one's character.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Taint; tarnish; evil or corrupting effect: as, the stain of sin.
  • n. Slight trace; tinge; tincture.
  • n. Coloring matter; a liquid used to color wood, ivory, etc., by absorption.
  • n. Specifically, a solution of a dye used in microscopical work to render more readily visible various structures, and for purposes of differentiation.

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

  • v. color with a liquid dye or tint
  • v. make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
  • n. a soiled or discolored appearance
  • n. a symbol of disgrace or infamy
  • n. the state of being covered with unclean things
  • v. color for microscopic study
  • n. (microscopy) a dye or other coloring material that is used in microscopy to make structures visible
  • n. an act that brings discredit to the person who does it
  • v. produce or leave stains


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.



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