pollute

verb
pol·​lute | \pə-ˈlüt \
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 \ 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

This measure would rework the permitting process for projects that in any way might damage, pollute, or otherwise harm protected fish habitats. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Environmental Measures on the 2018 Midterm Election Ballots You Should Know About," 18 Oct. 2018 In Alaska, the company has supported efforts to prevent waste from mining operations from polluting Bristol Bay, a productive salmon fishery. Author: David Gelles, Anchorage Daily News, "Patagonia v. Trump: Inside a battle over public lands," 6 May 2018 Just after midnight on Dec. 22, 2008, a storage pond at the TVA plant ruptured, setting loose a cascade of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal-ash sludge that polluted the Emory River and damaged nearby homes and property. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Environmentalists accuse EPA of gutting Obama-era safeguards on coal ash disposal," 6 Mar. 2018 Fishermen complain that the excess of visitors and poor municipal waste disposal have polluted Lugu Lake and depleted once-abundant fish stocks. Jason Motlagh, Marie Claire, "Kingdom of Women," 18 Jan. 2018 That means the country will have to generate power using more conventional, polluting sources, including coal. Feargus O'sullivan, WIRED, "Denmark's Carbon Footprint Is Set to Balloon—Blame Big Tech," 26 June 2018 Former #MiamiBeach @MayorLevine blocked me for tweeting at him to stop polluting Biscayne Bay with poop and violating the Sunshine Law. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Has a politician blocked you on Twitter? These folks see victory in ruling against Trump | Miami Herald," 24 May 2018 Cities, businesses and consumers seeking ways to cut down on waste have shunned the plastic straw, which never completely breaks down and can end up in landfills or polluting oceans. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "More eateries, businesses do away with plastic straws," 13 July 2018 In the end, the biggest enemy of island and coral ecosystems isn’t rats, but humans—we’re the ones that transplant the things, and pollute the oceans, and warm the atmosphere. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Rats! Coral Reefs Aren't Getting the Bird Poop They Need," 11 July 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

13 Dec 2018

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 \
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 \
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 \ 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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