Meaning of STAIN in English


I. stain 1 /steɪn/ BrE AmE verb

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Origin: Partly from Old French desteindre 'to discolor' , from teindre 'to give something a different color' , from Latin tingere ( ⇨ ↑ tinge 2 ); partly from Old Norse steina 'to paint' ]

1 . [intransitive and transitive] to accidentally make a mark on something, especially one that cannot be removed, or to be marked in this way:

Be careful you don’t stain the carpet.

This tablecloth stains very easily.

Her fingers were stained yellow from years of smoking.

stain with

a cowboy hat stained with dust and sweat

2 . [transitive] to change the colour of something, especially something made of wood, by using a special liquid ⇨ dye :

We’ve decided to stain the shelves blue.

3 . stain sb’s name/honour/reputation etc literary to damage the good opinion that people have about someone

II. stain 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . [countable] a mark that is difficult to remove, especially one made by a liquid such as blood, coffee, or ink

stain on

There was a dark red stain on the carpet.

remove/get rid of a stain

White vinegar is great for removing stains.

wine/coffee/blood etc stain

How do you get wine stains out of a tablecloth?

stubborn stains (=ones that are very difficult to remove)

2 . [uncountable and countable] a special liquid that you use to change the colour of something, especially wood ⇨ dye

3 . stain on sb’s character/name/reputation etc something that damages the good opinion that people have about someone

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▪ a wine/coffee/blood etc stain

How can I get coffee stains out of a cotton tablecloth?

▪ a red/brown/dark etc stain

There was a brown stain on the bedroom ceiling.

▪ a stubborn stain (=one that is hard to remove)

Lighter fuel can be used to remove more stubborn stains.

■ verbs

▪ remove a stain ( also shift a stain informal )

He was trying to remove a stain from his jacket.


Fruit juice stains can be hard to shift.

▪ get a stain out ( also get rid of a stain ) (=remove it)

You’ll never get that stain out.

▪ get a stain on something

She didn’t want to get a stain on her new dress.

▪ something leaves a stain

She wiped the soup off her blouse, but it left a stain.

▪ a stain spreads

A dark stain spread over the grey carpet.

■ stain + NOUN

▪ stain remover (=a special liquid for removing stains)

▪ stain removal

Here are a few quick tips for stain removal.

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■ a dirty mark

▪ mark a dirty area on something that spoils its appearance:

The bark of the tree had made black marks on her trousers.

▪ spot a small mark on something:

a grease spot on my shirt

▪ stain a mark that is difficult to remove, especially one made by a dark liquid:

a wine stain on the tablecloth


blood stains

▪ smudge a mark that is made when something touches against a surface:

There was a smudge of lipstick on his cheek.


He had a smudge of chalk on his jacket.

▪ smear a mark that is made by a small amount of something spread across a surface:

The table had a smear of paint on the top.

▪ fingerprint ( also fingermark British English ) a mark on the surface of something that is made by someone’s fingers:

The glass was covered with greasy fingerprints.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.