Definition of pollute in English:



  • 1 Contaminate (water, air, or a place) with harmful or poisonous substances.

    ‘the explosion polluted the town with dioxin’
    ‘exposure to polluted air’
    • ‘The rural population rarely has sewage systems, and so surface water is badly polluted.’
    • ‘We're better off leaving it in the ground rather than polluting our air and the globe by burning it.’
    • ‘The result is that fish waste pollutes the water, which becomes the perfect habitat for green algae to form.’
    • ‘A factory polluting your air or water supply is a typical example of one.’
    • ‘The spill polluted the water, damaged the coastal ecological system and disrupted fishing in the area.’
    • ‘When washed off, these substances drain away to pollute public water resources.’
    • ‘The same giant livestock facilities that pollute our air and water are also the perfect breeding grounds for super-tough microbes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pesticides used to treat the flowers also pollute ground water.’
    • ‘Intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers seriously pollutes our water, soil, and air.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Perc is also a suspected carcinogen which pollutes air and water supplies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the hourly application rate is excessive, runoff could pollute surface waters or flood adjoining areas.’
    • ‘Yet, it costs nothing, and will cost nothing until our skies become so polluted that air worth breathing requires labour.’
    • ‘Replacing used water bottles with new containers made from virgin resources consumes energy and pollutes the air, land and water.’
    • ‘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 traffic congestion that wastes time and energy and pollutes the air we breathe has reached its limit across the nation.’
    • ‘The fact is that etching chips requires the use of caustic chemicals that pollute the air and water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Loss of habitat, prey, and polluted waters are some of the risks that alligators already face.’
    contaminate, adulterate, taint, poison, befoul, foul, dirty, soil, blight, make filthy, infect
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    1. 1.1Defile; corrupt.
      ‘a society polluted by racism’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pollution traditionally involved an act of defilement and desecration; in previous times, to pollute was to profane, to stain, to sully, to corrupt.’
      • ‘You may enjoy short-term TV exposure and media headlines, but even the media are pillars of the polluting society.’
      • ‘The condemned is reduced to a body to be kept and then eliminated in a ‘ritual expulsion of that which pollutes and defiles’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We find imprecations against people who break laws, defile a sanctuary, commit perjury, or pollute a grave, amongst other things.’
      • ‘They have polluted the minds of Taiwanese and obstructed the progress of society.’
      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.