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

These plants feed on nutrients that pollute and cloud the waters. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018 Cap and trade seeks to curb industrial emissions by charging businesses that pollute. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Progress on environment could slow on Supreme Court without Kennedy," 29 June 2018 Southeast Asian countries are struggling to cope with an overwhelming surge in tourism polluting their most idyllic destinations. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Paradise Regained as Boracay Gets Ready to Party On," 26 Oct. 2018 The problem is, this does not make Google carbon-neutral in a practical sense, because the company still needs polluting energy sources to keep functioning. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Five graphics from Google show how carbon-intensive its data centers really are," 11 Oct. 2018 Artificial photosynthesis has been around for decades, but scientists haven’t been able to develop it on a scale large enough to support an industrial level, or that could operate without the use of expensive or polluting devices. Fox News, "Scientists invent way to create 'unlimited renewable energy'," 7 Sep. 2018 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

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

11 Jan 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 \
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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