The Middle English word femelle was contaminated by the word male, resulting in the modern form female.
An example of contaminate is to accidentally place raw chicken on the counter and not clean it up.
Origin of contaminate
- Middle English contaminaten from Latin contāmināre contāmināt- tag- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Old French contaminer, from Latin contaminare (“to touch together, blend, mingle, corrupt, defile”), from contamen (“contact, defilement, contagion”), related to tangere.