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 pollute (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for pollute

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 These tiny pieces can easily pollute the environment without most of us even realizing it. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Earth Day 2021: 10 eco-friendly products to buy on sale now," 22 Apr. 2021 These fires pollute the air, destroy property, threaten water supplies and endanger wildlife and people. Cara Korte, CBS News, "One senator's idea to save forests and help the climate — and create jobs," 20 Apr. 2021 These innovations can be more suitable to tough contexts, more resilient to extreme events, have smaller climate impacts, pollute less, and produce resources such as clean water, compost, fuel, and even insect protein. Chelsea Wald, Wired, "The Pandemic Proved That Our Toilets Are Crap," 18 Apr. 2021 CCAs give industrial users the right to pollute but discourage it by setting a price. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, "Economic Data Released After China’s Close While US-China Dialogue Ramps Up," 10 Mar. 2021 Fertilizers pollute water with nitrates and phosphates, sparking algal blooms and creating dead zones like the one that forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Thomas Hertel, The Conversation, "Growing food and protecting nature don’t have to conflict – here’s how they can work together," 9 Mar. 2021 The lights on some turbines pollute the Stygian sky. New York Times, "Carbon County, Wyoming, Knows Which Way the Wind Is Blowing," 3 Mar. 2021 Newsom will try to pollute the recall effort with the stench of former President Trump, who lost by nearly 2 to 1 in California. Los Angeles Times, "Column: How trying to recall Newsom could backfire on California Republicans," 18 Mar. 2021 If permits to pollute were not granted, fracking would be impossible. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "The Voter-Suppression Bill Is Also Our Most Important Climate Legislation," 17 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for pollute

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pollute

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pollute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pollute. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 pollute (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on pollute

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