What verb means "to make something erroneous or wrong"?
The context is

However, in the first trial of the experiment, the yeast was siphoned through the device into the other test tube, _____ing the results.

  • 1
    You cannot make something erroneous/wrong: it either is erroneous/wrong, or it is correct. However, I understand what you mean from your example. Possible words for use in your example are "voiding" or "nullifying" the results. I'm sure there's a better expression, but it doesn't come to mind at the moment!
    – TrevorD
    Apr 13, 2016 at 0:12
  • 1
    Normally (in informal terms) one would say "screwing up the results". Otherwise, "invalidating" is probably the best choice.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 13, 2016 at 1:04

3 Answers 3



: to make invalid; especially : to weaken or destroy the cogency of. "factors that may invalidate the test results."

"Invalidate." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.


The results have been contaminated.

Contaminate verb Make (something) impure by exposure to or addition of a poisonous or polluting substance - ODO

This definition relates to the substance being literally contaminated by the contaminant, but the effect of the contaminant on the results can also be described with the same word. Here's an example:

... some outside astronomers said the group had underestimated the extent to which interstellar dust could have contaminated the results ... - Dennis Overbye

Returning to your sample sentence, we have:

However, in the first trial of the experiment, the yeast was siphoned through the device into the other test tube, contaminating the results.

  • I think you're giving the sentence a different meaning from what the OP intended. The "results" of the experiment was not contaminated, but rather some physical component within the experiment.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 13, 2016 at 1:07
  • @HotLicks The physical components were literally contaminated (per definition), but the effect on the results is also described with the same word, as the Overbye quote demonstrates.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 13, 2016 at 1:19

If something was deliberately made wrong, with malicious intent, consider sabotage.

any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute.

If it was perhaps not necessarily malicious, but interfered with in order to produce a deceptive result, then you might use falsify.

1. to make false or incorrect, especially so as to deceive: to falsify income-tax reports. 2. to alter fraudulently.

Examples from Dictionary.com

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