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June 12, 2013 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I feel like I've forgotten a word. Is there a verb that means "to introduce an impure portion into" or else "decrease the purity of" -- but which is not "corrupt" or "alloy"? If for example a stream of wastewater were to be joined into a freshwater river, that would be Xing the river. If an artist were to introduce crass commercial considerations into otherwise heartfelt art, that would be Xing the art. It could be that this word does not exist.
posted by shivohum to Writing & Language (17 answers total)
 
Dilute?
posted by cgc373 at 6:25 AM on June 12, 2013


Poison? Contaminate?
posted by ladybird at 6:26 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Adulterate?
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Debase?
posted by permafrost at 6:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


maculate, sully, pollute, defile, debase, contaminate, taint, vitiate, adulterate, degrade
posted by zadcat at 6:28 AM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I would use contaminate here, or maybe even infect depending on the context.
posted by phunniemee at 6:32 AM on June 12, 2013


befoul
posted by Jehan at 6:37 AM on June 12, 2013


I would use taint or contaminate.
posted by iminurmefi at 6:38 AM on June 12, 2013


Toxify
posted by Jacen at 6:38 AM on June 12, 2013


Sully?
posted by Pantengliopoli at 6:41 AM on June 12, 2013


Pollute synonyms.
posted by adamvasco at 6:48 AM on June 12, 2013


Yes - that's exactly what pollute means.
posted by Hugobaron at 7:01 AM on June 12, 2013


Taint.
posted by limeonaire at 7:04 AM on June 12, 2013


I bet Fouling (or befouling) is the word you're looking for.
posted by muddgirl at 7:04 AM on June 12, 2013


All excellent answers, but I think "degrade" or "debase" or perhaps "adulterate" is what I had forgotten!
posted by shivohum at 7:09 AM on June 12, 2013


Compromise, blight, mitigate
posted by cartoonella at 7:49 AM on June 12, 2013


Besmirching means that and is also a really fun word to say.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:18 AM on June 12, 2013


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