Contaminate (transitive verb) means "to add a little bit of bad stuff to (something), rendering it bad". Or thereabouts.

Is there a word for "to add a little bit of good stuff to (something), rendering it acceptable, not bad"?

Or, less optimal, an intransitive verb, or a noun describing the action?

  • It's not, of course, decontaminate, which means "to remove the bad stuff that wound up in (something), rendering it good again".
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:17
  • You could add some sugar to poison, but it wouldn't make it safe.
    – JYelton
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 21:21

8 Answers 8


Perhaps remediate.

But it depends on the "good stuff" that's being added.

Other possibilities:



I also like @Kevin's fortify and purify from @MrHen's list.

I think nearly all of @F'x's suggestions are good, and @nico's answers are super-dope as well.

  • ...and the check mark. For remediate.
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 8:07

You could use to enrich, to supplement, to ameliorate.

In certain contexts (e.g. metallurgy or electronics) you may also use to dope (e.g. doped semiconductors).

  • Re enrich and supplement, see my comment on Kevin's answer.
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:31
  • @msh210: so you want to say that something which was not good before is now good after the addition?
    – nico
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:32
  • @nico, I can't find this use of drug in metallurgy in Google Books. Ameliorate looks good, though; thanks!
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:34
  • @nico, re your comment: Yes.
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:35
  • Actually, "ameliorate the water in" and "ameliorate the water of" get no hits on Google Books. Perhaps it's not really the right word at all....
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:42

Fortify. As in "fortified with vitamins and nutrients."

  • Hm, yes, but that's not quite the meaning I'm looking for. I'm going to edit the question to clarify.
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:26

To enhance, to improve, to better, to augment, to boost, to refine, to purify, to strengthen.


" This unfortunate situation could be ameliorated by the addition of a little charity."


A few options:

  • reenforce
  • build
  • purify
  • edit/proofread
  • bless
  • fix
  • flood
  • consume

A few nouns:

  • magic (specifically black magic or white magic)
  • pixie dust
  • goodness

Of note, you can say "contaminate with goodness" or "infect with happy" or any number of other phrases. They work best when combined with a character or voice that is genre-savvily evil or macho. The apparent collision of connotations works great for comedic or satirical effects.


"To spice up" - won't work in all instances but captures it in some.


The item added could be a palliative and would serve to palliate whatever its being added to.


The malignancy of this concoction could be moderated with a splash of gin


The addition of a little antidote to the cup would mitigate the initial effects of the poison diverting suspicion until it was too late!

Mask could work for your edited question.

The medicine was vile but a little sugar masked it


He masked the bitter poison with honey

Even dilute could work

He diluted the cheap scotch with coke until it was rendered palatable

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