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 pollutive (audio) \ 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

Tens of millions of dollars in the state budget for next fiscal year and in California’s cap-and-trade program, which generates revenue by charging businesses for polluting, are earmarked for vegetation management. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "With wildfire season at hand, California on slightly safer footing this year," 17 June 2018 Unhappy with commanding the surf, Orm wants to take the turf as well, since land-dwellers are threatening the world’s oceans by polluting them and killing sea creatures. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Aquaman goes for broke and lands somewhere between overstuffed marine opera and cheesy comic book fun," 11 Dec. 2018 Investors want companies to go green—even in heavily polluting industries like mining. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Rio Tinto’s Green Growth Dilemma," 27 Feb. 2019 But extracting these cannabinoids from the buds of the plant is costly, energy-intensive, and often toxic, resulting in chemical byproducts that pollute watersheds. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Use Yeast to Produce Cannabinoids Affordably and Efficiently," 1 Mar. 2019 Now, do these distinguished folks have the ability and salesmanship to get China, India and the other high-polluting countries to jump in and reduce fossil fuels and reduce air pollution with their broader border pollution solutions? WSJ, "Debating the Carbon Tax Dividend Strategy," 24 Jan. 2019 For instance, the bill exempts oil and gas refineries and other polluting facilities covered by the cap-and-trade program from direct air-quality regulations determined at the district level. David Roberts, Vox, "California’s cap-and-trade system may be too weak to do its job," 12 Dec. 2018 At the request of former tobacco lobbyists and their polluting industry friends, Pruitt is attempting to disqualify those sorts of studies in a blatant attempt to narrow the number of studies that can be used to craft regulations. Margo Oge, Fortune, "Scott Pruitt Is Trying to Pull a Disappearing Act on Science. Here’s How It Would Impact Your Health," 25 June 2018 The government claims the company violated the Clean Air Act by allowing the vehicles to pollute more than 20 times beyond the legal limit. Mike Colias, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler Warns of $800 Million in Costs Related to Emissions Settlement," 10 Jan. 2019

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

19 Apr 2019

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 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 pollutive (audio) \ 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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