infect

verb
in·​fect | \ in-ˈfekt How to pronounce infect (audio) \
infected; infecting; infects

Definition of infect

transitive verb

1 : to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (such as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration
c of a computer virus : to become transmitted and copied to (a device, such as a computer)
3a : contaminate, corrupt the inflated writing that infects such stories
b : to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm

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Other Words from infect

infector \ in-​ˈfek-​tər How to pronounce infector (audio) \ noun

Examples of infect in a Sentence

If you're sick you should stay home to avoid infecting other people in the office. The virus has infected many people. They were unable to prevent bacteria from infecting the wound. Her enthusiasm has infected everyone. The virus has infected many computers. All the computers in the office were infected by the same virus.
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Recent Examples on the Web Measles can infect people for two hours after someone with the disease leaves a room. National Geographic, "What 'airborne coronavirus' means, and how to protect yourself," 11 Aug. 2020 Did that counselor infect a few younger children, who in turn infected other younger children? Anchorage Daily News, "Growing evidence suggests younger children may be affected by coronavirus differently from older ones," 10 Aug. 2020 While the novel coronavirus pandemic might eventually infect a majority of people in the United States, the speed at which the outbreak spreads makes a huge difference in health outcomes. Jamie Hutt, Star Tribune, "App text formatting test," 7 Aug. 2020 The virus, which does not infect people, pets or livestock, attacks the cells that line the blood vessels, causing hemorrhaging in the lungs and the gastrointestinal tracts of deer. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "California wildlife officials: Help deer stop congregating, deadly outbreak is killing them," 6 Aug. 2020 According to a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, the fungus manipulates the insects to unknowingly infect other cicadas, rapidly transmitting the disease to create a zombie army of sorts. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, ""Zombie cicadas" infected with mind-controlling fungus return to West Virginia," 31 July 2020 The new coronavirus can also infect the fetus via the placenta. William Petri, The Conversation, "Does coronavirus linger in the body? What we know about how viruses in general hang on in the brain and testicles," 31 July 2020 And research suggests that some viruses that today infect only people, like measles and mumps, had their evolutionary origins in bats. Rachel Ehrenberg, Ars Technica, "The bat-virus détente," 3 July 2020 While PEDv can’t infect people, the pathogen used them as its oblivious chauffeurs, hitching rides to new swine hosts as farmers, feed suppliers and veterinarians traveled from place to place. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Coronavirus Spread Through U.S. Pigs in 2013. Here’s How It Was Stopped," 10 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'infect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of infect

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for infect

Middle English, from Latin infectus, past participle of inficere, from in- + facere to make, do — more at do

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Time Traveler for infect

Time Traveler

The first known use of infect was in the 14th century

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Statistics for infect

Last Updated

14 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Infect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infect. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for infect

infect

verb
How to pronounce infect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of infect

: to cause (someone or something) to become sick or affected by disease
: to cause (someone) to feel an emotion
of an emotion : to spread to (other people)

infect

verb
in·​fect | \ in-ˈfekt How to pronounce infect (audio) \
infected; infecting

Kids Definition of infect

1 : to pass on or introduce a germ, illness, or disease to : to cause sickness in Don't infect me with your cold. The bacteria can infect wounds.
2 : to cause to share similar feelings Her enthusiasm infects the other players.
in·​fect | \ in-ˈfekt How to pronounce infect (audio) \

Medical Definition of infect

1 : to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration — compare infest

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More from Merriam-Webster on infect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for infect

Spanish Central: Translation of infect

Nglish: Translation of infect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of infect for Arabic Speakers

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