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Definition to spoil something so it is not desirable — as when bacteria contaminates a food; or as when a rumor makes people distrust a person

Much more rarely, taint is used in a non-negative way to refer to a trace of something.
  • Three people died from eating the tainted ice cream.
tainted = spoiled or contaminated
  • Her reputation was tainted by rumors that she had lied about what happened.
  • tainted = damaged
  • Authorities said the milk was tainted with rat poison.
  • tainted = contaminated
  • He felt dirty, contaminated, as though he were carrying some deadly germ, unworthy to sit on the Underground train back from the hospital with innocent, clean people whose minds and bodies were free of the taint of Voldemort...
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • taint = spoiling or contaminating effect (that makes something undesirable)
  • He taints the whole house, as I remember it.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The House of the Seven Gables
  • taints = contaminates or spoils (so it is less desirable)
  • There was almost a taint of madness.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End
  • taint = contamination (spoiling things)
  • In the world's terms, though, all of us were tainted.
    Susanna Kaysen  --  Girl Interrupted
  • tainted = spoiled (so as to be undesirable)
  • Up until now, the whole day had been tainted by suspicion and doubt, but David's face shone with admiration for what she had done.
    Scott Westerfeld  --  Uglies
  • tainted = spoiled (made undesirable)
  • They have injured the finest mind; for sometimes, Fanny, I own to you, it does appear more than manner: it appears as if the mind itself was tainted.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • tainted = spoiled
  • How sweet it was to breathe the fresh air, that had no taint of death and decay.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • taint = trace of contamination
  • Perhaps he had eaten some tainted fish.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • tainted = spoiled or contaminated
  • His sword helped taint the throne you sit on, Ned thought, but he did not permit the words to pass his lips.
    George R.R. Martin  --  A Game of Thrones
  • taint = spoil (the reputation)
  • Yet, to his surprise, his triumph was bittersweet, tainted by an unexpected sense of loss.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Brisingr
  • tainted = spoiled (made less desirable)
  • If a train stops even briefly, they crouch by the tracks, cup their hands, and steal sips of water from shiny puddles tainted with diesel fuel.
    Sonia Nazario  --  Enrique's Journey
  • tainted = contaminated (having traces of)
  • The atmosphere seemed tainted with the smell of coffins.
    Charles Dickens  --  Oliver Twist
  • tainted = contaminated or spoiled
  • Eckels stood smelling of the air, and there was a thing to the air, a chemical taint so subtle, so slight, that only a faint cry of his subliminal senses warned him it was there.
    Ray Bradbury  --  A Sound of Thunder
  • taint = contamination spoiling the air
  • It was the best meal Lina had had in a very long time—but her enjoyment of it was tainted just a little by the question of where it had come from.
    Jeanne DuPrau  --  The City of Ember
  • tainted = spoiled
  • Here, there was the taint of deepest sin in the most sacred quality of human life, working such effect, that the world was only the darker for this woman's beauty, and the more lost for the infant that she had borne.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The Scarlet Letter
  • taint = contamination
  • I must go personally to purify this thunderbolt in the waters of Lemnos, to remove the human taint from its metal.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Lightning Thief
  • taint = contamination (that makes it less desirable)
  • She would make a new life for herself and her baby, and she wanted no whisper of Clave or Covenant ever to taint her future.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones
taint = spoil or contaminate

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