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

Banning sunscreen will not solve other problems: for example, temperature anomalies, overfishing, coral predators and the big issue of coastal runoffs that pollute and destroy reefs. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Hawaii is banning sunscreens that kill coral reefs," 2 July 2018 CAFOs typically house 1,000 cows or more and have come under fire over their odors and manure’s potential impact to pollute groundwater and streams. Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dairy group uses behind-the-scenes influence with Gov. Scott Walker to shift regulation of large livestock farms," 6 July 2018 The giant African mammals generate 52,800 metric tons of dung each year, enough—according to two new studies—to pollute ecosystems and kill fish by the hundreds. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Excess hippo dung may be harming aquatic species across Africa," 16 May 2018 Something clearly happened to pollute the process, which should be problematic for an administration that promised to drain the swamp. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "Inspector General Probes Interior Department's Handling Of Connecticut Casino Expansion," 23 Apr. 2018 Women, traditionally considered polluting in Shintoism, are barred from entering it. The Economist, "Why women are not allowed in sumo rings—even to save a life," 14 Apr. 2018 The heat produced from the Earth’s core not only doesn’t pollute, but is also cheap. Bloomberg.com, "Iceland Signs $250 Million Deal to Clean Up Chinese Power," 25 Mar. 2018 The submerged roots of the floating plants provide a natural filter for the water, which can be polluted with sewage overflow after heavy rains. Patrick M. O'connell, chicagotribune.com, "A 'wild mile' on the Chicago River? It might be closer than you think," 22 June 2018 In a fever pitch political environment where blatant dishonesty has become tragically normalized, the penetrating candor of Killer Mike and El-P is a breath of fresh air amidst the horribly polluted. Adam Isaac Itkoff, Billboard, "Kill Your Masters: How Run the Jewels Took on the World, And Won," 20 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

4 Oct 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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Comments on pollute

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