Definition of pollute in English:



  • 1Contaminate (water, the air, etc.) with harmful or poisonous substances.

    ‘the explosion polluted the town with dioxin’
    ‘the Mersey is one of Europe's most polluted rivers’
    • ‘When washed off, these substances drain away to pollute public water resources.’
    • ‘If oil tankers spill, if we keep throwing toxic waste in the ocean, if we do everything that pollutes the waters of the seven seas, lakes and rivers, the sea animals will suffer the exact same way we are.’
    • ‘The same giant livestock facilities that pollute our air and water are also the perfect breeding grounds for super-tough microbes.’
    • ‘A factory polluting your air or water supply is a typical example of one.’
    • ‘Yet, it costs nothing, and will cost nothing until our skies become so polluted that air worth breathing requires labour.’
    • ‘The spill polluted the water, damaged the coastal ecological system and disrupted fishing in the area.’
    • ‘The result is that fish waste pollutes the water, which becomes the perfect habitat for green algae to form.’
    • ‘The fact is that etching chips requires the use of caustic chemicals that pollute the air and water.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Perc is also a suspected carcinogen which pollutes air and water supplies.’
    • ‘Loss of habitat, prey, and polluted waters are some of the risks that alligators already face.’
    • ‘The traffic congestion that wastes time and energy and pollutes the air we breathe has reached its limit across the nation.’
    • ‘A new medical study says they are more susceptible to some forms of cancer than the average Italian, possibly due to illegal waste dumps that pollute the water and soil.’
    • ‘Replacing used water bottles with new containers made from virgin resources consumes energy and pollutes the air, land and water.’
    • ‘The rural population rarely has sewage systems, and so surface water is badly polluted.’
    • ‘If the hourly application rate is excessive, runoff could pollute surface waters or flood adjoining areas.’
    • ‘At least when you are home you can sit in your own Cadillacs for hours in the rush traffic and pollute the air as much you like, destroying the ozone layer and blame it on us smokers.’
    • ‘Changing the by-law that protects us will only benefit the lobbyists who are promoters of the industry which will further pollute our air and water.’
    • ‘Intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers seriously pollutes our water, soil, and air.’
    • ‘Pesticides used to treat the flowers also pollute ground water.’
    • ‘We're better off leaving it in the ground rather than polluting our air and the globe by burning it.’
    contaminate, adulterate, taint, poison, befoul, foul, dirty, soil, blight, make filthy, infect
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    1. 1.1 Defile or corrupt.
      ‘a society polluted by greed’
      • ‘You may enjoy short-term TV exposure and media headlines, but even the media are pillars of the polluting society.’
      • ‘They have polluted the minds of Taiwanese and obstructed the progress of society.’
      • ‘On the other hand, his ability to corrupt and pollute the moral atmosphere of the earth, should he pervert his way, is greater than anyone else's.’
      • ‘Pollution traditionally involved an act of defilement and desecration; in previous times, to pollute was to profane, to stain, to sully, to corrupt.’
      • ‘The condemned is reduced to a body to be kept and then eliminated in a ‘ritual expulsion of that which pollutes and defiles’.’
      • ‘We find imprecations against people who break laws, defile a sanctuary, commit perjury, or pollute a grave, amongst other things.’
      • ‘Yet corruption pollutes society by lowering the authority of public office, and it lowers economic efficiency by destroying the principle of fair competition and imposes unnecessary costs on the private sector.’
      corrupt, poison, warp, pervert, deprave, defile, blight, debauch, sully, besmirch, desecrate, violate
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Late Middle English: from Latin pollut- ‘soiled, defiled’, from the verb polluere, based on the root of lutum ‘mud’.