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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun stain:


Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb stain:

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Definition of the noun stain

What does stain mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: stains

  1. a soiled or discolored appearance
  2. (microscopy) a dye or other coloring material that is used in microscopy to make structures visible
  3. the state of being covered with unclean things
  4. a symbol of disgrace or infamy
  5. an act that brings discredit to the person who does it
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • synonyms of stain: blot / smear / smirch / spot
    • more generic words: error / fault / mistake = a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention

Alternative definition of the noun stain


  1. A discoloured spot or area.
  2. A blemish on one's character or reputation.
  3. A substance used to soak into a surface and colour it.
  4. A reagent or dye used to stain microscope specimens so as to make some structures visible.

Definition of the verb stain

What does stain mean as a doing word?

verb - inflections: stained | staining | stains

  1. color with a liquid dye or tint
  2. produce or leave stains
    • example: Red wine stains the table cloth
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formulaVerbs with the same syntax
      [Agent - intentional control] [Verb] [Patient]Claire colors the pictureVerbs of Coloring: color, distemper, dye, enamel, glaze, japan, lacquer, paint, repaint, shellac, tint, varnish
      [Agent - intentional control] [Verb] [Patient] [Adjective]Claire colors the picture red
      [Agent - intentional control] [Verb] [Patient] to / into [Oblique, state]Claire painted the wall into a splotchy mess
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Destination]Jessica sprayed the wall | Leslie staffed the storeVerbs of Putting: pollute
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Destination] in [Theme]Leigh swaddled the baby in blankets
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Destination] with [Theme]Leslie staffed the store with employees
      [Theme - concrete object] [Verb]CFC's pollute
      [Theme - concrete object] [Verb] [Destination]The employees staffed the store
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • more generic words: alter / change / modify = cause to change; make different
    • more specific word: smut = stain with a dirty substance, such as soot
  3. make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically
  4. color for microscopic study
    • syntax: the same syntax as for the sense 2
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • more generic word: dye = color with dye

Alternative definition of the verb stain


  1. To discolour something
  2. To taint or tarnish someone's character or reputation
  3. To coat a surface with a stain
  4. To treat a microscope specimen with a dye


Stain a.k.a. Lit is an American alternative rock band, formed in 1988 in Fullerton, California. They released several singles in the late 1990s and early 2000s including their hit "My Own Worst Enemy".

  • read more about Lit


  1. "Stain" is a song by the Seattle grunge band Nirvana. "Stain" first appeared on the Blew EP in 1989 with other songs written for their album Bleach. It later appears on Incesticide (1992) and on the Outcesticide series. This song (like many of the songs on Incesticide) has an almost lyrical meaning. It does seem to say something about a boy who wastes a lot of time (probably Kurt Cobain himself) but through someone else's point of view. Then during the chorus he says, "I'm a stain" like he went back to his thoughts.
    • also known as Stain Jam; Stain (Live) (10 Jan 92 Soundcheck, MTV Studios, NYC); Stain (soundcheck)
    • music and lyrics by Kurt Cobain & Krist Novoselic
  2. "Stain" is the third album by Living Colour. It was released on March 2, 1993, by Epic Records. It is the first album to feature bassist Doug Wimbish. Stain features a much heavier and aggressive Living Colour, containing elements of thrash metal and industrial music. It reached #26 on the Billboard 200; however, the band would split up on January 1995 following a tour with Bad Brains. One of their last shows, before reuniting years later, would be a performance at CBGB's.
  3. "stain" is a musical single of SOPHIA.
    • released on (8 years ago)
  4. "Stain" is a musical album of Opium & Sostrah Tinnitus.
    • released in (4 years ago)
  5. "Stain" is a musical album of Everything on Black.
    • released on (9 years ago)


Stain is a fictional character from the 1986 film One Crazy Summer.


  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.
  2. Stain: In heraldry, a stain is one of a few non-standard tinctures or colours, which are only known to occur in post-medieval heraldry and are thought to denote a rebatement of honour. Almost none of these rebatements are found in fact of heraldic practice, however, and in British heraldry the stains find only exceptional use, other than for purposes of livery.

Phrases with Stain

  1. mud stain
  2. oil stain
  3. gram stain
  4. Shit Stain
  5. gram's stain
  6. port-wine stain

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Stain

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewEuropean Building Construction Illustrated (2014)

by Francis D. K. Ching, Mark Mulville

Penetrating stains permeate awood surface, leaving averythin film on the surface • Water stain is a penetrating stain made...

stain is a penetrating stain made by dissolving dyein an alcohol or spirit vehicle • Pigmented oropaque stain is an oil ...

Google previewBuilding Construction Illustrated (2014)

by Francis D. K. Ching

Stains Stain is a solution ofdye or suspension of pigment in a vehicle, applied to penetrate and color a wood surface...

Pigmented oropaque stain is an oil stain containing pigments capable of obscuring the grain and texture ofa wood surface .

Google previewStandards and Specifications in the Wood-using Industries (1927)

Nationally Recognized Standards and Specifications for Wood and Manufactures Thereof Including Paper and Paper Products ... October 5, 1927 ... by United States. National Bureau of Standards

STAIN ( OR DISCOLORATION) Stain is a discoloration, occurring on or in lumber, of any color other than the natural color of the piece on which it appears. It is classified ...

Google previewColor Atlas of Pulmonary Cytopathology (2012)

by Sudha R. Kini

Romanowskytype stain is a combination of an acid dye and a basic dye in the same solution. The colored cation and anion may combine, forming a colored salt referred to as a neutral salt. The latter can react with certain cell components.

Google previewA Photographic Atlas for the Microbiology Laboratory (2012)

by Michael J. Leboffe, Burton E. Pierce

The capsule stain is a differential stain used to detect cells capable of producing an extracellular capsule. Capsule production increases virulence in some microbes (such as the anthrax bacillus Bacillus anthracis and the pneumococcus ...

Google previewFoundations in Microbiology' 2007 Ed.(sixth Edition)2007 Edition

The Gram stain is the basis of several important bacteriological topics, including bacterial taxonomy, cell wall structure,

Google previewThe LUMBER Inspection Rules (1921)

Containing Rules Governing the Manufacture and Inspection of the Different Kinds of Lumber, Weights of Lumber, Comparative Strength of Building Timbers, and Other Information Useful to the Buyer and Consumer of Lumber

Stain is a discoloration that penetrates the wood fihre of a piece of lumher and of any color other than the natural color of the piece...

Medium stain is the shade of discoloration that takes up the colorings that develop hetween light and heavy.

Google previewPrinciples & Interpretation of Laboratory Practices in Surgical Pathology (2016)

by Shameem Shariff, Amrit Kaur Kaler

Principles The van Gieson's stain is a mixture of picric acid and acid fuchsin. It is the simplest method of differential staining of collagen and other connective tissue such as smooth muscle. When using combined solutions of picric acid and ...

Google previewBulletin (1918)

Soil stain is a disease of the underground parts of the plants. The vines and foliage are never attacked as long as they remain free from the soil. When these are covered, however, the petioles as well as the stems may become infected. Cause.

Google previewNervous & Mental Disorders from Birth Through Adolescence (1903)

by J. M. H. MacLeod

An acid stain is a compound in which the staining element is an acid, while the remaining element— namely, the base—is colourless. Picrate of ammonia is a simple example of this variety. It is the picric acid which stains the protoplasm of the ...

Google previewRoth Unbound (2013)

A Writer and His Books by Claudia Roth Pierpont

While The Human Stain is an advance in social amplitude, it is also something of an old-fashioned novel. There are no narrative adventures, no doubling of characters, no battles with reality. The world is what it is, as firm and clear as the ...

Google previewIntroduction to Biopsy Interpretation and Surgical Pathology (2012)

by J.C.E. Underwood

A justifiably popular broad-spectrum mucin stain is the AB/PAS combination. Alcian blue is applied to the section first and blocks any mucins that might also react with periodic acid-Schiff reagent. Southgate's mucicarmine can also be used, but ...

Google previewEssentials of Clinical Infectious Diseases (2013)

by William F. Wright, DO, MPH

The Ziehl-Neelsen stain is a rapid, inexpensive method to diagnose mycobacterial infection on specimens from all sites. It does not distinguish live from dead bacilli or M tuberculosis from nontuberculous mycobacteria. Sensitivity of a single ...

Google previewValvular Heart Disease: A Companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease (2009)

by Catherine M. Otto, Robert O. Bonow

The stain is a phthalocyanine dye that contains copper and stains acid mucopolysaccharides and glycosaminoglycans. in the center of the mitral valve leaflet are consistent with hypertrophic chondrocyte cells; these differentiated cells are ...

Google previewHistological Diagnosis of Nevi and Melanoma (2012)

by Guido Massi, Philip E. LeBoit

For routine purposes a conventional Alcian blue-PAS-D stain is a good choice. In the opinion of most authors, the mucin is produced by mesenchymal stromal cells and consists of mucopolysaccharides and acid sulphurited mucosubstances; ...

Google previewMosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests (2013)

by Kathleen Deska Pagana, Timothy J. Pagana

A Gram stain is a method by which all bacteria are classified. All forms of bacteria are grossly classified as gram-positive (blue staining) or gram-negative (red staining). Furthermore, knowledge of the shape of the organism (e.g., spherical, rod ...

Google previewBalance of the Heart (2012)

Desert Spirituality for Twenty-First-Century Christians by Lois Farag

The stain is a sign that the body has become impure. The tongue is hard to control or “tame” and is “a restless evil full of deadly poison.” What is even worse, the tongue curses “those who are made in the likeness of God.” This is a very scary ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine (2015)

Table 4 Special techniques used to demonstrate infectious agents Agent Technique Bacteria Gram stain, silver stain, acid-fast stain, culture, DNA probes, PCR and ligase chain reaction for Mycobacteria Giemsa, culture in Chlamydia Virus ...

Google previewThe Dictionary of English Inflected Words, with the Syllabication of All the Words According to a System Founded on Well-defined Principles (1877)

And the System of Syllabication as Applied to Poetry and the Scansion of Verse. Forming Part II of The Handy English Word Book by James Stormonth

staid:ness n, stain n., stains; stain v., ...

Google previewTaber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (2017)

by Donald Venes

stain pox) before the characteristic rash appears. restings. The stage of a cell between mitotic divisions. The term is inaccurate because the cell is metabolically active and is producing a new set of chromosomes for the next division.

Google previewEncyclopedia of Entomology (2008)

by John L. Capinera

Wood-Stain Diseases Wood stain or wood discoloration diseases occur in conifer trees and felled timber. They are caused by the so-called blue-stain fungi, of which the most common are species of Ceratocystis and Oph- iostoma.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Stain

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Photos about Stain

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If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of wine stain from a white materialSmall photo of Close up of staining wooden furniture with brush and brown protective wood stain, repainting old terrace furniture in spring. Refreshing, giving new look concept.Small photo of wine stain from a white materialSmall photo of Coffee Stain - Isolated Photo.Small photo of Sauce stain on white shirtSmall photo of Close up of hand staining wooden furniture with brush and brown protective wood stain, repainting old terrace furniture in spring. Refreshing, giving new look concept.Small photo of Frustrated person pointing to spilled curry stain on white shirt More...

Video language resources about Stain

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Quotes about Stain

It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship. (Henry Ward Beecher)
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Scrabble value of S1T1A1I1N1

The value of this 5-letter word is 5 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of STAIN

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