stain

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stain / stān/ • v. [tr.] 1. mark (something) with colored patches or dirty marks that are not easily removed: her clothing was stained with blood| [as adj.] (stained) a stained placemat | [intr.] red ink can stain. ∎  [intr.] be marked or be liable to be marked with such patches. ∎ fig. damage or bring disgrace to (the reputation or image of someone or something): the awful events would unfairly stain the city's reputation. 2. color (a material or object) by applying a penetrative dye or chemical: wood can always be stained to a darker shade. • n. 1. a colored patch or dirty mark that is difficult to remove: there were mud stains on my shoes. ∎  a thing that damages or brings disgrace to someone or something's reputation: he regarded his time in jail as a stain on his character. ∎  a patch of brighter or deeper color that suffuses something: the sun left a red stain behind as it retreated. 2. a penetrative dye or chemical used in coloring a material or object. ∎  Biol. a special dye used to color organic tissue so as to make the structure visible for microscopic examination. ∎ Heraldry any of the minor colors used in blazoning and liveries, esp. tenné and sanguine. DERIVATIVES: stain·a·ble adj. stain·er n. (both in sense 2 of the verb ). ORIGIN: late Middle English (as a verb): shortening of archaic distain, from Old French desteindre ‘tinge with a color different from the natural one.’ The noun was first recorded (mid 16th cent.) in the sense ‘defilement, disgrace.’

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stain
A. change the colour of, †deprive of colour; sully, blemish; spot or blotch with dirt, etc. XIV;

B. impart its colour to, tinge; †ornament with colour XV; colour (fabric, etc.) with pigment XVII, (glass) XVIII. Aphetic of distain — OF. desteign-, pres. stem of desteindre. The development of sense B is obscure.
Hence stain sb. XVI; dye, pigment XVIII.

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stain (stayn)
1. n. a dye used to colour tissues and other specimens for microscopical examination.

2. vb. to treat a specimen for microscopical study with a stain.