What does stain mean?

Definitions for stain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word stain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. stain, discoloration, discolourationnoun

    a soiled or discolored appearance

    "the wine left a dark stain"

  2. stainnoun

    (microscopy) a dye or other coloring material that is used in microscopy to make structures visible

  3. dirt, filth, grime, soil, stain, grease, grungenoun

    the state of being covered with unclean things

  4. mark, stigma, brand, stainnoun

    a symbol of disgrace or infamy

    "And the Lord set a mark upon Cain"--Genesis

  5. blot, smear, smirch, spot, stainverb

    an act that brings discredit to the person who does it

    "he made a huge blot on his copybook"

  6. stainverb

    color with a liquid dye or tint

    "Stain this table a beautiful walnut color"; "people knew how to stain glass a beautiful blue in the middle ages"

  7. stainverb

    produce or leave stains

    "Red wine stains the table cloth"

  8. tarnish, stain, maculate, sully, defileverb

    make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically

    "The silver was tarnished by the long exposure to the air"; "Her reputation was sullied after the affair with a married man"

  9. stainverb

    color for microscopic study

    "The laboratory worker dyed the specimen"


  1. stainnoun

    A discoloured spot or area.

  2. stainnoun

    A blemish on one's character or reputation.

  3. stainnoun

    A substance used to soak into a surface and colour it.

  4. stainnoun

    A reagent or dye used to stain microscope specimens so as to make some structures visible.

  5. stainverb

    To discolour something

  6. stainverb

    To taint or tarnish someone's character or reputation

  7. stainverb

    To coat a surface with a stain

  8. stainverb

    To treat a microscope specimen with a dye

  9. Etymology: From steinen, steynen, of origin, from steina, from steinn, from stainaz, from stAy-. Cognate with stan. More at stone.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Stainnoun

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;
    But long contracted filth ev’n in the soul remains:
    The reliques of inveterate vice they wear,
    And spots of sin. John Dryden, Æn.

    We no where meet with a more pleasing show than what appears in the heavens at the rising and setting of the sun, which is wholly made up of those different stains of light that shew themselves in clouds of a different situation. Addison.

    Swift trouts diversify’d with crimson stains,
    And pikes, the tyrants of the wat’ry plains. Alexander Pope.

    To solemn actions of royalty and justice their suitable ornaments are a beauty: are they only in religion a stain? Richard Hooker.

    Our opinion, concerning the force and virtue which such places have, is, I trust, without any blemish or stain of heresy. Richard Hooker.

    Then heav’n and earth renew’d, shall be made pure
    To sanctity, that shall receive no stain. John Milton, Par. Lost.

    Ulysses bids his friends to cast lots; for if he had made the choice himself, they whom he had rejected might have judged it a stain upon them for want of merit. William Broome.

    Hereby I will lead her that is the praise, and yet the stain of all womankind. Philip Sidney.

  2. To STAINverb

    Etymology: ystaenio, Welsh, from ys and taenu. Rhag Gwyar or Gnawd,
    Afar ystaenawd.
    Taliessyn, an old British poet.

    Lend me a looking-glass;
    If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
    Why then she lives. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    From the gash a stream
    His armour stain’d, ere while so bright. John Milton.

    Embrace again, my sons: be foes no more,
    Nor stain your country with your children’s gore. Dryden.

    Of honour void, of innocence, of faith, of purity,
    Our wonted ornaments now soil’d and stain’d. John Milton.


  1. Stain

    A stain is a discoloration that can be clearly distinguished from the surface, material, or medium it is found upon. They are caused by the chemical or physical interaction of two dissimilar materials. Accidental staining may make materials appear used, degraded or permanently unclean. Intentional staining is used in biochemical research and for artistic effect, such as wood staining, rust staining and stained glass.


  1. stain

    A stain is a discoloration that can be clearly distinguished from the surface, material, or medium it is found upon. It can be unintentional or may be intentionally applied to create a color, design, or pattern. It may occur on items such as fabric, wood, or metal due to spills or chemical reactions. It can also be used in scientific practices, such as staining cells or tissues for examination under a microscope.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Stainverb

    to discolor by the application of foreign matter; to make foul; to spot; as, to stain the hand with dye; armor stained with blood

  2. Stainverb

    to color, as wood, glass, paper, cloth, or the like, by processess affecting, chemically or otherwise, the material itself; to tinge with a color or colors combining with, or penetrating, the substance; to dye; as, to stain wood with acids, colored washes, paint rubbed in, etc.; to stain glass

  3. Stainverb

    to spot with guilt or infamy; to bring reproach on; to blot; to soil; to tarnish

  4. Stainverb

    to cause to seem inferior or soiled by comparison

  5. Stainverb

    to give or receive a stain; to grow dim

  6. Stainnoun

    a discoloration by foreign matter; a spot; as, a stain on a garment or cloth

  7. Stainnoun

    a natural spot of a color different from the gound

  8. Stainnoun

    taint of guilt; tarnish; disgrace; reproach

  9. Stainnoun

    cause of reproach; shame

  10. Stainnoun

    a tincture; a tinge


  1. Stain

    A stain is a discoloration that can be clearly distinguished from the surface, material, or medium it is found upon. They are caused by the chemical or physical interaction of two dissimilar materials. Staining is used for biochemical research, metal staining, and art.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Stain

    stān, v.t. to tinge or colour: to give a different colour to: to impregnate, as a tissue, with some substance whose reaction colours some parts but not others, thus making form or structure plainly visible: to dye: to mark with guilt or infamy: to bring reproach on: to sully: to tarnish.—v.i. to take or impart a stain.—n. a discoloration: a spot: taint of guilt: cause of reproach: shame.—n. Stain′er, one who stains or blots: a dyer.—adj. Stain′less, without or free from stain.—adv. Stain′lessly.—n. Stain′lessness.—Stained glass, glass painted with certain pigments fused into its surface. [Short for distain—O. Fr. desteindre—L. dis-, away, tingĕre, to dye.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. STAIN

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Stain is ranked #68949 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Stain surname appeared 285 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Stain.

    83.8% or 239 total occurrences were White.
    10.5% or 30 total occurrences were Black.
    3.1% or 9 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Anagrams for stain »

  1. antis

  2. saint

  3. Saint

  4. satin

  5. sat in

  6. tians

  7. tisan

How to pronounce stain?

How to say stain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of stain in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of stain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of stain in a Sentence

  1. Erika Guevara-Rosas:

    Mexico is living one of its worst human rights crises in decades, the catalog of failures in the search and investigation into the disappearance of the 43 students that the group of experts have denounced is an enormous stain on the reputation of the Mexican government, which can only begin to recover if those responsible are found.

  2. Jillian Graham, Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul:

    Never let a stain from the past put a mark on your future.

  3. Michelle Rennalls:

    You can do it for I am one to believe. When I first met you, you wore a stain on your sleeveIt was a stain of strength, courage and warfare. You gave me strength, you encouraged my will to keep holding on. Some things we learn from others, yet most things of which we are born. I believe in you as you believed in me. I didn't give up and neither will you. With us in agreement, we will make it through!

  4. Professor Karsten Koenig:

    We use femtosecond laser pulses. We scan the skin and we get signals from the skin, particularly fluorescence, as well as another signal called second harmonic generation. So with these two signals we can build up images and get a precise look into the skin with a high resolution. The resolution is a factor of one thousand (times) better than ultrasound. So now you get the information without taking biopsies; normally you slice them, you stain them, and then a pathologist would look through these sections. Now you can get this information in seconds, labor free and with this fantastic resolution.

  5. Chad Griffin:

    The vote by the executive committee to recommend that gay, lesbian and bisexual adults be allowed to work and volunteer for the Boy Scouts is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on one of our nation's most storied organizations, but writing in an exemption for troops organized by religious organizations undermines the potentially historic nature of today's vote.

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Translations for stain

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"stain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/stain>.

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    involving or causing danger or risk; liable to hurt or harm
    • A. opaque
    • B. profound
    • C. dependable
    • D. dangerous

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