If you adulterate something, you mess it up. You may not want to adulterate the beauty of freshly fallen snow by shoveling it, but how else are you going to get to work?

  • Pronunciation: /ə'dʌltəret/
  • English Description: increase in quantity or bulk by adding a cheaper substance
  • Chinese Translation: 掺假(can1 jia3)
  • Spanish Translation: adulterar
  • STORY: The verb adulterate comes from the Latin word adulterare, which means “to falsify,” or “to corrupt.” Whenever something original, pure, fresh, or wholesome is marred, polluted, defaced, or otherwise made inferior, it has been adulterated. Your grandfather may, for instance, believe that bartenders adulterate the name “Martini” by applying it to combinations of vodka, chocolate or anything other than a mixture of five parts gin to one part dry vermouth, on the rocks, with a twist.


  • Products containing unapproved additives are considered adulteratedand subject to seizure.
  • If fish accumulate toxins because we have adulterated our oceans, the fault lies not with the fish, but our environmental abuses.

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