pollute

verb
pol·​lute | \ pə-ˈlüt How to pronounce pollute (audio) \
polluted; polluting

Definition of pollute

transitive verb

1a : to make ceremonially or morally impure : defile
b : debase sense 1 using language to deceive or mislead pollutes language— Linda C. Lederman
2a : to make physically impure or unclean : befoul, dirty
b : to contaminate (an environment) especially with man-made waste

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Other Words from pollute

polluter noun
pollutive \ pə-​ˈlü-​tiv How to pronounce pollutive (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for pollute

Synonyms

befoul, contaminate, defile, foul, poison, taint

Antonyms

decontaminate, purify

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Choose the Right Synonym for pollute

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source. water contaminated by industrial wastes taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination. tainted meat a politician's tainted reputation pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy. the polluted waters of the river defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration. defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo

Examples of pollute in a Sentence

Miles of beaches were polluted by the oil spill. Car exhaust pollutes the air.

Recent Examples on the Web

Experts and state officials agree that state funding is the most important key to cleaning abandoned and polluted industrial sites. Michael Puffer, courant.com, "When industry departs, municipalities can be stuck with costly, blighted brownfield sites," 10 June 2019 According to research by Michigan State University, green roofs are great at cooling buildings, reducing flood risk, slashing polluting emissions and providing spaces for nature to thrive. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, "Green roofs are sprouting up on buses," 10 June 2019 By Miles Weiss and David Welch | Bloomberg News For years, Tesla Inc. has hauled in revenue by selling credits to other carmakers that needed to offset sales of polluting vehicles to U.S. consumers. Bloomberg News, The Mercury News, "GM, Fiat buying up Tesla’s greenhouse gas credits," 3 June 2019 While consumers may care that their cars are not polluting the environment, there's rarely a direct way to know how good or bad your emissions system is without relying on testing by a third party or assurance from the government. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "EU investigating German automakers, alleging collusion on emissions tech," 19 Sep. 2018 Environmental organizations often point out that balloons can land in the ocean, eventually washing up on the shore and polluting the environment. Mercedes Leguizamon And Aj Willingham, CNN, "Why one town in Rhode Island is banning balloons," 6 Apr. 2018 The bill, which also targets plastic coffee stirrers, comes as cities across the country are taking similar measures to cut down on plastic waste that often ends up polluting our waters and hurting sea life. CBS News, "New York City Council to consider ban on plastic straws," 23 May 2018 Some fans think that mark is like a virus, polluting Bran from the inside out. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "These Weird White Walker Symbols Might Be Hints About Bran Becoming the Night King," 26 Apr. 2019 The currents in the Adriatic Sea flow from south to north—and so flows the waste and pollutes the northern Adriatic coast. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County encourages proper waste disposal," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pollute.' 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 pollute

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pollute

Middle English, from Latin pollutus, past participle of polluere, from por- (akin to Latin per through) + -luere (akin to Latin lutum mud, Greek lyma dirt, defilement) — more at for

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Statistics for pollute

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pollute

The first known use of pollute was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pollute

pollute

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pollute

: to make (land, water, air, etc.) dirty and not safe or suitable to use

pollute

verb
pol·​lute | \ pə-ˈlüt How to pronounce pollute (audio) \
polluted; polluting

Kids Definition of pollute

: to spoil or make impure especially with waste made by humans Factories pollute the stream.

Other Words from pollute

polluter noun

pollute

transitive verb
pol·​lute | \ pə-ˈlüt How to pronounce pollute (audio) \
polluted; polluting

Medical Definition of pollute

1 : to make physically impure or unclean
2 : to contaminate (an environment) especially with man-made waste

Other Words from pollute

polluter noun
pollutive \ -​ˈlüt-​iv How to pronounce pollutive (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on pollute

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pollute

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pollute

Spanish Central: Translation of pollute

Nglish: Translation of pollute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pollute for Arabic Speakers

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