Definitions

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

  • noun The perineum.
  • transitive verb To affect or associate with something undesirable or reprehensible.
  • transitive verb To expose to an infectious agent, toxin, or undesirable substance.
  • transitive verb To subject to decay or putrefaction: synonym: contaminate.
  • noun An undesirable or corrupting influence or association: synonym: stain.
  • noun An undesirable quality; a defect or shortcoming.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Tainted; touched; imbued.
  • To attaint.
  • noun A thrust, as of a lance in tilting; especially, a preliminary movement or trial with a weapon, as in the tilt, or, by extension, in battle.
  • To tinge; tincture; hence, to imbue; touch; affect.
  • To imbue with something of a deleterious or offensive nature; infect or impregnate with a noxious substance or principle; affect with insalubrity, contagion, disease, or the like.
  • To make noisome or poisonous in constitution; corrupt the elements of; render putrid, deleterious, or unfit for use as food or drink.
  • To corrupt morally; imbue with perverse or objectionable ideas; exert a vitiating influence over; pervert; contaminate.
  • To give a corrupted character or appearance to; affect injuriously; stain; sully; tarnish.
  • To disgrace; fix contumely upon.
  • To treat with a tincture; embrocate; mollify.
  • = Syn. 2-5. Contaminate, Defile, Taint, Pollute, Corrupt, Vitiate. Whether these words are regarded as meaning the injuring of purity or the spoiling of value, they are in the order of strength, except that each is used in different degrees of strength, and that vitiate is one of the weaker words and taint a strong word for rendering impure. Corrupt means the absolute destruction of purity. They all suggest an influence from without coming upon or into that whose purity or value is injured.
  • To be tinged or tinctured; become imbued or touched.
  • To become tainted or rancid; be affected with incipient putrefaction.
  • noun Color; hue; dye; tinge.
  • noun A stain; a spot; a blemish; a touch of discredit or dishonor.
  • noun An infecting tinge; a trace; a touch.
  • noun A corrupting or contaminating influence, physical or moral; a cause or condition of depravation or decay; an infection.
  • noun A certain spider of small size and red color, reputed to be poisonous: perhaps a species of Latrodectus, but probably only a harvest-mite, and not poisonous.
  • To touch or hit in tilting; reach with a thrust, as of a lance or other weapon.
  • To thrust, as a lance or other weapon, especially in tilting.
  • To make an effort or essay, as a juster; tilt, as in the just; make a thrust.

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

  • noun obsolete A thrust with a lance, which fails of its intended effect.
  • noun obsolete An injury done to a lance in an encounter, without its being broken; also, a breaking of a lance in an encounter in a dishonorable or unscientific manner.
  • transitive verb To imbue or impregnate with something extraneous, especially with something odious, noxious, or poisonous; hence, to corrupt; to infect; to poison.
  • transitive verb Fig.: To stain; to sully; to tarnish.
  • intransitive verb To be infected or corrupted; to be touched with something corrupting.
  • intransitive verb To be affected with incipient putrefaction.
  • transitive verb Aphetic form of attaint.
  • noun obsolete Tincture; hue; color; tinge.
  • noun Infection; corruption; deprivation.
  • noun A blemish on reputation; stain; spot; disgrace.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To thrust ineffectually with a lance.
  • transitive verb obsolete To injure, as a lance, without breaking it; also, to break, as a lance, but usually in an unknightly or unscientific manner.
  • transitive verb obsolete To hit or touch lightly, in tilting.

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

  • noun slang The perineum.
  • noun A thrust with a lance, which fails of its intended effect.
  • noun An injury done to a lance in an encounter, without its being broken; also, a breaking of a lance in an encounter in a dishonorable or unscientific manner.
  • noun A contamination, decay or putrefaction, especially in food
  • noun A mark of disgrace, especially on one's character; blemish
  • noun obsolete tincture; hue; colour
  • noun obsolete infection; corruption; deprivation
  • verb To contaminate or corrupt (something) with an external agent, either physically or morally.
  • verb To spoil (food) by contamination.

Etymologies

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

[From such phrases as ’tain’t asshole and ’tain’t pussy and ’tain’t asshole and ’tain’t balls.]

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

[Partly from obsolete taynt, to color, dye (from Anglo-Norman teint, from past participle of teindre, from Latin tingere), and partly from Middle English tainten, to convict (short for atteinten, from Old French ataint, past participle of ataindre, to attain, touch upon; see attain).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Reportedly from the phrase “'tain't your balls and 'tain't your ass”.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French atteinte ("a blow, bit, stroke"). Compare with attaint.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin tingere, tinctum via French teint (past participle of teindre ("to dye, to tinge"))

Examples

Comments

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  • taint is also a contraction of "it ain't" - which would make it unique as a word with two apostrophes - t'ain't. From old time radio Fibber Magee & Molly "T'ain't funny, Magee"

    August 20, 2009

  • "Libya Ferrets Out Gadhafi's Taint"

    September 8, 2011

  • I really didn't get that.

    September 9, 2011

  • I didn't get it until I read the comments. For what it's worth, Wiktionary does list "The perineum" as its fifth definition.

    September 9, 2011

  • I'm guessing, but I think taint in the sense of "perineum" ("T'ain't your ass and t'ain't your balls") originated in the gay demimonde. At least, I first came across it, with an explanatory gloss, in a gay porn magazine sometime in the mid-1980s.

    September 9, 2011

  • Nice link, 'zuzu!

    Also: the pics on this make you wonder, and the tweets make you wish you didn't.

    September 11, 2011

  • "In an interview with GQ magazine, the "Mummy" star said the alleged incident took place during HFPA luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003. He alleged that former HFPA president, Philip Berk, came to shake his hand when he was leaving the crowded room. "His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around," Fraser said, adding that in that moment he was overcome with panic and fear."I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry," Fraser added."

    February 23, 2018