Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To reduce the value or impair the quality of.
  • transitive v. To corrupt morally; debase.
  • transitive v. To make ineffective; invalidate. See Synonyms at corrupt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to spoil, make faulty; to reduce the value, quality, or effectiveness of something
  • v. to debase or morally corrupt
  • v. to violate, to rape
  • v. to make something ineffective, to invalidate

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make vicious, faulty, or imperfect; to render defective; to injure the substance or qualities of; to impair; to contaminate; to spoil
  • transitive v. To cause to fail of effect, either wholly or in part; to make void; to destroy, as the validity or binding force of an instrument or transaction; to annul.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To render vicious, faulty, or imperfect; injure the quality or substance of; cause to be defective; impair; spoil; corrupt: as, a vitiated taste.
  • To cause to fail of effect, either in whole or in part; render invalid or of no effect; destroy the validity or binding force of, as of a legal instrument or a transaction; divest of legal value or authority; invalidate: as, any undue influence exerted on a jury vitiates their verdict; fraud vitiates a contact; a court is vitiated by the presence of unqualified persons sitting as members of it.
  • Synonyms Pollute, Corrupt, etc. (see taint), debase, deprave.

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

  • v. corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality
  • v. make imperfect
  • v. take away the legal force of or render ineffective

Etymologies

Latin vitiāre, vitiāt-, from vitium, fault.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From vitiātus, the perfect passive participle of Latin vitiō ("damage, spoil"), from vitium ("vice"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But though there is an inaccuracy in saying that the freezing of water is due to the loss of its heat, no practical error arises from it; nor will a parallel laxity of expression vitiate our statements respecting the multiplication of effects.

    Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects Everyman's Library

  • Just remembered that I completely forgot to add a Word of the Week this week - so in view of the topic, how about 'vitiate'?

    Light and Shade

  • Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa cautioned the Congress against any attempt to "vitiate" the law and order situation with their provocative speeches and asserted that his government was capable of handling such situations.

    Daily News & Analysis

  • It is a duty society owes to itself to discountenance everything which tends to vitiate public taste.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • You cannot solve or thwart sin by sinning; you cannot claim to be upholding truth and human dignity by taking selective measures or employing means that vitiate core principles.

    Do you think "Consent is Sexy"?

  • He writes that this clause "is not an independent source of federal power" and "would vitiate the enumerated powers principle."

    The Constitutional Moment

  • (Of course, this finding doesn't vitiate the importance of how children are fed, and eat, after they descend onto the earth.)

    Stanton Peele: Human Genome Project: We Discover Much that Genetics Can't Tell Us

  • There are a lot of other people who also bear responsibility, however, that does not vitiate Joe Paterno's duties to the victimized children.

    Joe Paterno, the Penn State Tragedy and Child Molestation

  • But it sounded much more cautious on growth, noting that "continuing uncertainty about energy and commodity prices may vitiate the investment climate, posing a threat to the current growth trajectory."

    India Central Bank Raises Key Rates

  • Yet expanding the longstanding authority to regulate interstate commerce to compel individuals to participate in commerce would vitiate the government of limited and enumerated powers that the framers envisioned.

    Judge Silberman's Strange Opinion

Comments

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  • Many vitiate their principles in the acquisition of riches; and who can wonder that what is gained by fraud and extortion is enjoyed with tyranny and excess?

    Samuel Johnson, "The Rambler (No. CLXXII)"

    July 24, 2011

  • For loud prayer is good for weak lungs and for a vitiated throat. (from Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart)

    December 31, 2007