...that contaminated the books of American and European banks

Wookie

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
What makes this setback harder for people to stomach is that while Iceland’s banks borrowed heavily overseas in recent years, they bought virtually none of the American mortgage-backed investments that contaminated the books of American and European banks.(source)

Which definition of contaminate fits this example?
I want to know what the underlined part means.
 
  • gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    "contaminated". I think it should be construed to mean "poisoned" or "made a mess of" or some other phrase to describe a really bad investment.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    It's an unusual, though clever, use of "contaminated." I think that the WR entry of "make impure" is a suitable definition, though obviously there's more to the story than that.
     
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