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

Coastal lawmakers from both parties said the bills would protect U.S. coasts from drilling that can pollute crucial waters — and lead to disasters such as the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Matthew Daly, Anchorage Daily News, "House votes to bar Arctic drilling; Senate action unlikely," 13 Sep. 2019 The scrap yard’s impending demise means another polluting industry is leaving wealthy, largely white Lincoln Park. Michael Hawthorne, chicagotribune.com, "Reversing one of Emanuel’s last decisions, Lightfoot ensures clout-heavy scrap shredder leaves North Side by 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Coastal lawmakers from both parties said the bills would protect U.S. coasts from drilling that can pollute crucial waters — and lead to disasters such as the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. CBS News, "House approves bill to permanently bar oil drilling off Atlantic and Pacific coasts," 12 Sep. 2019 Harris’ plan tackles America’s drinking water crisis and increasing penalties for companies who pollute. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Harris, Warren Reveal Climate Plans Ahead Of CNN Town Hall On Global Warming," 4 Sep. 2019 In Malaysia earlier this year, a government crackdown found at least 148 unlicensed recycling factories that pollute local communities with toxic fumes and contaminate bodies of water. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Cambodia to send plastic waste back to the US and Canada," 18 July 2019 Berroteran’s team’s winning business model involved replacing regular plastic bags with a biodegradable bag made of algae that won’t pollute the environment. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Live It Out camp closes out third year of ‘teens helping teens’," 21 June 2019 But the ad tech industry is a toxic spill that has polluted the entire web and app business. NBC News, "Apple's big power play comes in a small privacy feature," 4 June 2019 Detection is especially difficult in dense industrial and urban environments because of the vast numbers of chemicals, particularly hydrocarbons and solvents, that already pollute the air. Dan Dubno, Popular Mechanics, "How We'll Stop Chemical Attacks," 28 Apr. 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

20 Sep 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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