Definition of infect in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈfɛkt/


[with object]
1Affect (a person, organism, etc.) with a disease-causing organism: the chance that a child may have been infected with HIV
More example sentences
  • Children can get ringworm from touching infected animals such as dogs and cats.
  • Since then, West Nile virus has spread rapidly westward, infecting birds, humans and horses.
  • Mosquitoes that bite infected animals then bite humans typically transmit the disease.
pass infection to, transmit infection to, spread disease to, contaminate;
cause infection in, cause disease in
1.1Contaminate (air, water, etc.) with harmful organisms: (as adjective infected) the bacteria can get into a crop from an infected water supply
More example sentences
  • Somewhat reassured, the group try to settle down to enjoy the rest of their vacation, unaware that the diseased man's body is face down in the reservoir, infecting their water supply…
  • Oh, and the guy who they burnt handily made it to the local reservoir, thereby infecting the local water supply.
  • Almost every area of life is a potential terrorist target - with scare stories about the threat of a smallpox outbreak, and bioterrorists infecting food supplies and water reservoirs.
contaminate, pollute, make impure, taint, foul, dirty, blight, spoil, mar, impair, damage, ruin;
rare vitiate
1.2 Computing Affect with a virus: viruses have infected computer networks
More example sentences
  • By comparison almost one in ten emails (nine per cent) sent out in July were infected with a computer virus.
  • They also found many of these airport lounge PCs were infected with computer viruses.
  • Antivirus software can only protect your computer from viruses trying to infect it via email, CD-Rom, floppy disk, Word documents or other types of computer files.
1.3(Of a negative feeling or idea) take hold of or be communicated to (someone): the panic in his voice infected her
More example sentences
  • He is out to remove the spectator from his normal or appropriate perceptual field, and in doing so to infect him with his own personal doubts.
  • It's a tendency that infects anybody that mistakes the Faith for an ideology (of which, more later).
  • The house was big, not as big as the one that had just infected her with a bad case of money envy, but still big.
affect, have an effect on, influence, have an impact on, impact on, touch, take hold of;
excite, inspire, stimulate, animate



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈfɛktə/
Example sentences
  • Retroviruses are particularly insidious infectors as they use the inner ‘factory’ of the host cells to reproduce themselves, killing the host and spreading throughout the body.
  • File infectors are parasitic viruses that operate in memory.
  • We examine three state-of-the-art, system infectors and try to determine what's right for your agenda.


Late Middle English: from Latin infect- 'tainted', from the verb inficere, from in- 'into' + facere 'put, do'.

  • The words infect and infection (Late Middle English) are both from Latin inficere ‘to taint, dip in’, from in- ‘into’ and facere ‘put, do’.

Words that rhyme with infect

affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, inflect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, neglect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reflect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, subject, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in¦fect

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