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taint vb. (not pre-Eliz. in these senses)
1. to affect or imbue slightly with an undesirable quality 1H6 V. iii. 182 “Never yet taint” [pa. pple.] “with love,” 3H6 III. i. 40 “Nero will be tainted with remorse” ; also intr. to become so affected Mac. V. iii. 3 “I cannot taint with fear.”
2. to injure, impair Meas. IV. iv. 5, Tw.N. III. iv. 14 “t-ed in's wits,” Oth. I. iii. 273 “That my disports corrupt and taint my business,” IV. ii. 161.
3. to sully, stain, bring into discredit (a person, his honour, &c.) Tw.N. V. i. 142, 1H6 IV. v. 46, H8 III. i. 54 “To that honour,” IV. ii. 14; to disparage Oth. II. i. 277 “tainting his discipline.”
4. to infect with corruption, corrupt, deprave Tw.N. V. i. 369, 1H6 V. iv. 45 “t-ed with a thousand vices,” Ham. I. v. 85 “ not thy mind,” Cym. V. iv. 65, Lucr. 38; also intr. Tw.N. III. iv. 147 “lest the device take air, and taint” (=become stale).
5. to convey infection Troil. III. iii. 233.
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