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 Burkhart’s experience is commonplace and a reminder of the decadeslong struggle to address the recurring sewage spills from Tijuana that pollute the South Bay shoreline. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 May 2021 Low-carbon funds, which seek to invest more in companies that pollute less, are part of the boom in ESG—environmental, social and governance—strategies. Jason Zweig, WSJ, 16 Apr. 2021 The material is also made from recycled waste gathered from beaches that would otherwise pollute the ocean. Lizzy Briskin, chicagotribune.com, 9 Apr. 2021 Biden’s plan would not only create jobs, but help reduce methane and brine leaks that pollute the air and groundwater. Matthew Daly, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Apr. 2021 Denmark plans to burn millions of dead mink that have been excavated from mass graves over concerns the carcasses could pollute nearby waterways. Kara Fox, CNN, 14 May 2021 Those companies with stubbornly high emissions are going to have to pay to pollute — while those with low emissions will enjoy a cost (and profitability) advantage. Christopher Helman, Forbes, 13 May 2021 There’s never been anything that could pollute the mountain preserve ... Joshua Bowling, The Arizona Republic, 7 May 2021 Gardening, for me, is a respite from the distractions that hijack my peace of mind and pollute my imagination. Danielle Chang, Town & Country, 22 Apr. 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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pollute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pollute. Accessed 19 Jun. 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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