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 Indigenous groups want to know if that means the river can now sue people who pollute it. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "This river in New Zealand is legally a person. Here's how it happened," 11 Dec. 2020 That regulation initiated the mandatory closure of unlined coal ash ponds; its relaxation by Trump's EPA gives the pits more time to pollute nearby waterways. Halle Parker | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "A Louisiana utility hopes to get more time to close its 4 coal ash ponds under a new rollback," 4 Dec. 2020 Inequality is also a fact of life within the wealthiest countries that pollute the most. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Global rich must cut their carbon footprint 97% to stave off climate change, UN says," 16 Dec. 2020 The tiny particles of dust can also pollute the air across the Caribbean, presenting a serious health hazard. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "‘Godzilla’ dust storm traced to shaky northern jet stream," 7 Dec. 2020 Those that pollute less can sell their unused permits. Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Deal Will Leave Carbon Market Question Wide Open," 25 Nov. 2020 Deep-fryer oil should not be poured on the ground or down a storm drain, which could pollute waterways and clog the storm pipe. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "Don't be a turkey! How to dispose grease this Thanksgiving without clogging your pipes," 26 Nov. 2020 Georgia, however, did not follow suit, despite a growing body of science warning about the potential for unlined ponds full of contaminants to pollute aquifers that supply water to homes with drinking wells. ProPublica, "A Power Company’s Quiet Land-Buying Spree Could Shield It From Coal Ash Cleanup Costs," 24 Nov. 2020 From the beginning, TV news far too often took his public rallies and speeches as live feeds, letting his misinformation pollute the ecosystem. Washington Post, "The media never fully learned how to cover Trump. But they still might have saved democracy.," 8 Nov. 2020

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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pollute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pollute. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pollute

pollute

verb
How to pronounce pollute (audio)

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
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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