Definition of impurity in US English:



  • 1The quality or condition of being impure.

    • ‘In the Torah, Tumah is clearly presented as negative, and the absence of impurity is not inherently positive, but neutral.’
    • ‘In Galatians 5: 19-21 the list is headed by sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, and idolatry.’
    • ‘Now, it is clear that this sacrifice is brought as a consequence of impurity from the fact that the same sacrifice of two turtle-doves or two pigeons is brought by a leper, a woman who has had an impure issue, and one who has just given birth.’
    • ‘I am the sword, forged of your will; by your command I will cleanse this land of impurity!’
    • ‘For the light of the Navi blesses our spirits and cleans them of impurity.’
    • ‘Saints looked at Stevens and noticed his eyes flared with injustice and impurity.’
    • ‘Once the delight and help of her husband, she is now the loathing of his soul and tempts him to absence and impurity.’
    • ‘In order to teach these concepts of movement and philosophy, I adopted an ancient Chinese term Hakuda, which translates as ‘striking without impurity.’’
    • ‘In vv 24 and 26a Paul asserts a surfeit of desire and passion by the people he is denouncing, which he characterizes as impurity and dishonor.’
    • ‘The spirit of a jealous person is one of impurity, which takes on an evil quality that provokes real, perceptible damage to the envied person, animal or property.’
    • ‘However, on the arrival of some believers from Judea, allied with James on the issue of table fellowship, Peter declined to eat with Gentiles on the grounds of ritual impurity.’
    • ‘‘So you say,’ replied Dionysus, ‘but impurity is pursued by many in broad daylight.’’
    • ‘Throughout history many societies have built elaborate customs around cultivating bodily purity and avoiding impurity.’
    • ‘They also maintained that illness, poverty, business failure, or any other misfortune is simply due to sin and spiritual impurity.’
    • ‘It corrupts the soul and causes wars and pestilence and… impurity.’
    • ‘One of the more entertaining aspects of working for an institution like the Weekly is to see how often the readers sense some sort of betrayal, some creeping sign of impurity.’
    • ‘Choking back further sobs that I had kept in check, I swallowed my bitterness at the injustice of it all and continued to scrub, pressing into the carpeting hard, digging in, trying to erase every blotch, every bit of impurity from the rug.’
    • ‘The first group includes those books offering serious Buddhist interpretations of the nine stages from the perspective of contemplations on impurity and transience.’
    • ‘There are whole areas of Amsterdam devoted purely to impurity.’
    • ‘It's pretty much a rule of politics that when a party has been out of power for a while it is willing to tolerate a decent amount of ideological impurity in its presidential candidate.’
    adulteration, debasement, degradation
    contamination, pollution
    immorality, corruption, sin, sinfulness, vice, wickedness, dishonour
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    1. 1.1 A constituent which impairs the purity of something.
      ‘aluminum and lead are impurities frequently found in tap water’
      • ‘In all types of welds, contamination by interstitial impurities such as oxygen and nitrogen must be minimized to maintain useful ductility in the weldment.’
      • ‘Yet, the great bakers were Greeks, who refined flours to remove impurities, seasoned their breads and cakes with honey, sesame and fruits and invented a stone oven.’
      • ‘The stuff that is in the Thames and comes out of the taps undeniably contains impurities (bits that are neither hydrogen nor oxygen nor constituents thereof).’
      • ‘The main impurity in lanosterol is 24-dihydrolanosterol.’
      • ‘When the underlying chemistry is not well understood, this high-resolution method can distinguish one similar impurity from another.’
      • ‘Gooseberry powder and seeds of drumstick when mixed in water, promote sedimentation of impurities.’
      • ‘Use an air filter to remove air impurities and allergens that may be causing congestion that obstructs breathing.’
      • ‘The impurities dissolve in lead and evaporate leaving behind silver and gold.’
      • ‘A barely noticeable increase in water impurities, because of inefficient treatment plants, meant a growing problem of scaling in power station boiler plants.’
      • ‘This is an important factor when it comes to flavour, since alcohol picks up any impurities in the air during distillation.’
      • ‘In an effort to determine the nature of this impurity, Stromeyer discovered the presence of an as-yet-unidentified element, cadmium.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, tritium is a notorious and ubiquitous contaminant, and an impurity in deuterated acetone.’
      • ‘Naturally occurring impurities in the constituent ingredients gave glass an olive green hue which varied from pale to almost black and was beneficial to the bottled wine as it excluded light.’
      • ‘Surma is made from antimony sulfide, but it may contain lead as an accidental impurity that remains in antimony sulfide or it may be an intentional adulterant.’
      • ‘The World Health Organization has carefully looked into the situation, and we are absolutely certain that there are no impurities in the vaccines.’
      • ‘But when the oil is left in the engine for extended periods, lead and other impurities may fall out of suspension - right on to your engine parts.’
      • ‘Heroin kills for two main reasons: toxic impurities in the supply, and inconsistency of the dosage leading to accidental overdose.’
      • ‘Molybdenum is a very low level impurity in aluminum.’
      • ‘This was a potent and often deadly drink that contained numerous impurities and poisons - sometimes quite literally sending people mad.’
      • ‘He pushes beer with a combination of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas which leaves fewer impurities in the beer.’
      contaminant, adulterant, pollutant, foreign body
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    2. 1.2Electronics A trace element deliberately added to a semiconductor; a dopant.
      • ‘A p-type impurity region is formed under the gate electrode of the transfer transistor and within the semiconductor substrate, and the process can proceed without being limited by the self-alignment.’
      • ‘At the usual bulk CMOS, this voltage is controlled by introduction of the impurities into a silicon substrate.’
      • ‘Often the conducting properties of a semiconductor can be varied by adding an impurity known as a dopant so that a semiconductor can be made to act like either an insulator or a conductor.’
      • ‘Recent research has discovered that a semiconductor can be made magnetic by doping it with an impurity such as Mn.’
      • ‘Doping is the process of introducing impurities into the silicon, whose presence creates additional charge carriers to be used in conduction.’


Late Middle English: from French impurite or Latin impuritas, from impurus (see impure).