A Dictionary of the English Language
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Taint (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 2015, 2014

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 2015, 2014

Taint. n.s. [teinte, Fr. from the verb.]

  1. A tincture; a stain.

  2. An insect.

    There is found in the Summer a spider called a taint, of a red colour, and so little that ten of the largest will hardly outweigh a grain. Brown's Vulgar Errours, b. iii.

    As killing as the canker to the rose,
    Or taint worm to the weaning herds that graze.
    Milton.

  3. Infection.

    A father that breeds his son at home, can keep him better from the taint of servants than abroad. Locke on Education.

    But is no rank, no station, no degree,
    From this contagious taint of sorrow free.
    Prior.

  4. A spot; a soil; a blemish.

                      Her offence
    Must be of such unnatural degree,
    That monsters it; or your forevouch'd affection
    Fall'n into taint.
    Shakespeare's King Lear.

                                    Now I
    Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
    The taints and blames I laid upon myself.
    Shakespeare.

    My hellhounds shall lick up the draff and filth,
    Which man's polluting sin with taint hath shed
    On what was pure.
    Milton.

Sources: Browne, Thomas (204) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Milton, John (449) · Prior, Matthew (162)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Taint (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 12, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3823.


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