pol·​lu·​tion | \pə-ˈlü-shən \

Definition of pollution 

1 : the action of polluting especially by environmental contamination with man-made waste also : the condition of being polluted

2 : pollutant

Examples of pollution in a Sentence

industrial practices that have caused pollution of the air and water The tests showed high levels of pollution in the water. The fish are dying of pollution.
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Recent Examples on the Web

China was reckoning with how boom times had weighed it down with debt and overcapacity plus widespread corruption and appalling pollution. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned," 7 Dec. 2018 As for next year, Gutsch mentions Parley’s 100 Islands Project, a partnership with Corona to protect 100 islands around the world from plastic pollution. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Parley for the Oceans Founder Cyrill Gutsch Believes Fashion Can Lead the Way to a Healthier Planet," 29 Nov. 2018 Vote against the incumbent Republican president who is implementing new, industry-friendly regulations that will increase climate pollution. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The best thing you can do to stop climate change is to vote against Republicans," 27 Nov. 2018 Gyres are circulating systems of ocean currents that tend to collect pollution, and the North Pacific Gyre has become emblematic of the global plastic crisis. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "The All-Women Sailing Crew Trying to Save the Ocean of Plastic," 27 Nov. 2018 Double cleansing can really help my skin feel fresh, even after long days spent amidst the pollution of New York City. Talia Abbas, SELF, "This Balmy Face Wash Turned Me Into a Double-Cleansing Fanatic," 12 Nov. 2018 Launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment aims to minimize plastic pollution through several initiatives across the globe. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Burberry, H&M, L'Oreal and More Sign on to Address Global Plastic Crisis," 29 Oct. 2018 All along the way, there’s places where toxic pollution is essentially poisoning communities. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 Energy Vault also plans to create its bricks from waste debris, to minimize pollution from new concrete. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Battery idea: Hydroelectric pumped storage, but with bricks," 18 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pollution.' 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 pollution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near pollution







poll watcher

Statistics for pollution

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for pollution

The first known use of pollution was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pollution



English Language Learners Definition of pollution

: the action or process of making land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use

: substances that make land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use


pol·​lu·​tion | \pə-ˈlü-shən \

Kids Definition of pollution

: the action of making something impure and often unsafe or unsuitable for use : the state of being polluted


pol·​lu·​tion | \pə-ˈlü-shən \

Medical Definition of pollution 

1 : the action of polluting or the condition of being polluted

2 : pollutant

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More from Merriam-Webster on pollution

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pollution

Spanish Central: Translation of pollution

Nglish: Translation of pollution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pollution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pollution

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a nest or breeding place

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