taint

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taint / tānt/ • n. a trace of a bad or undesirable quality or substance: the taint of corruption that adhered to the regime. ∎  a thing whose influence or effect is perceived as contaminating or undesirable: the taint that threatens to stain most of the company's other partners. ∎  an unpleasant smell: the lingering taint of creosote. • v. [tr.] (often be tainted) contaminate or pollute (something): the air was tainted by fumes from the cars. ∎  affect with a bad or undesirable quality: his administration was tainted by scandal. ∎  [intr.] archaic (of food or water) become contaminated or polluted. DERIVATIVES: taint·less adj. ( poetic/lit. ).