General English

General Science


  • verb to enter a host organism and cause disease
  • verb to contaminate something with a microorganism that causes disease

Information & Library Science

  • verb to copy to a computer system a computer virus that is capable of damaging the system’s programs or data


  • verb to contaminate someone or something with microorganisms that cause disease or toxins

Origin & History of “infect”

Latin inficere originally meant ‘put in’ – it was a compound verb formed from the prefix in- and facere ‘put, do’ (source of English fact, fashion, etc). Its earliest specialized extension was ‘dip in’, which was applied specifically to the dipping of cloth into dye. From this it moved on to ‘stain’, and then it was a short step to ‘taint, spoil’. ‘Affect with disease’ was a post-Latin development. English acquired the word via the Latin past participial stem infect-.