pol·​lut·​ant | \pə-ˈlü-tᵊnt \

Definition of pollutant 

: something that pollutes

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Examples of pollutant in a Sentence

filtered the pollutants out of the water

Recent Examples on the Web

And smoke is more than a pollutant; it’s unburned fuel. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "The Ultimate Guide To Cutting and Splitting Firewood," 28 Sep. 2018 The first comprehensive Clean Air Act, the foundation of America’s modern environmental policy, was passed in 1970 with bipartisan support—and no mention of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Paul H. Tice, WSJ, "Trump’s Half-Measures Won’t Save the Coal Industry," 16 Sep. 2018 Snow, who has studied the effect of drugs and other pollutants on aquatic life before, does hope research like Capaldo’s catches enough attention that people start thinking more about the consequences of things. National Geographic, "Some Rivers Are So Drug-Polluted, Their Eels Get High on Cocaine," 20 June 2018 Levels of sulfur dioxide gas — a pollutant continuously expelled by the volcano, especially during times of major eruption — are also elevated, according to the USGS. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Is Still Erupting. Here's What to Know if You're Traveling to Hawaii," 10 May 2018 The poor marks for the three counties are for smog — a summer air pollutant that can reach levels that are unhealthy, even for healthy people and those working or exercising outdoors. Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Parts of Milwaukee region get a failing grade on air pollution from the American Lung Association," 18 Apr. 2018 While these pollutants make their way out of most cars running on gasoline, diesel exhaust is a particularly big contributor. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "The Indy 500 is actually super trashy," 21 May 2018 Tam also points out that, as lava burns homes and property, other pollutants are likely to appear in the air, alongside sulfur dioxide and vog. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "The Kilauea Eruption Has People Worried About Volcanic Smog. Here’s How Dangerous ‘Vog’ Really Is," 9 May 2018 More: California has eight of 10 most polluted U.S. cities The two pollutants studied were carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, both of which contribute to ground-level ozone (smog). Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "The USA's long battle against air pollution isn't over yet, as air quality improvements are slowing down," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pollutant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pollutant

1892, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near pollutant


poll tax






Statistics for pollutant

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pollutant

The first known use of pollutant was in 1892

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More Definitions for pollutant



English Language Learners Definition of pollutant

: a substance that makes land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use : something that causes pollution


pol·​lut·​ant | \pə-ˈlü-tᵊnt \

Kids Definition of pollutant

: a substance that makes something (as air or water) impure and often unsafe


pol·​lut·​ant | \pə-ˈlüt-ᵊnt \

Medical Definition of pollutant 

: something that pollutes

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Comments on pollutant

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to enclose within walls

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