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[im-pyoo r] /ɪmˈpyʊər/
not pure; mixed with extraneous matter, especially of an inferior or contaminating nature:
impure water and air.
modified by admixture, as color.
mixed or combined with something else:
an impure style of architecture.
regarded by a religion as unclean, as animals or things.
not morally pure or proper; unchaste or obscene:
impure thoughts.
marked by foreign and unsuitable or objectionable elements or characteristics, as a style of art or of literary expression.
Origin of impure
1530-40; < Latin impūrus. See im-2, pure
Related forms
impurely, adverb
impureness, noun
5. coarse, vulgar, improper, licentious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for impure
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now were coming the days when nothing would avail to keep the impure spirit from the cathedral pulpit.

    Barchester Towers Anthony Trollope
  • The purer we become, the more we shall know ourselves to be impure.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Alexander Maclaren
  • Israel will only be the gainer, even though there be an admixture of impure blood to a certain degree.

    The History of a Lie Herman Bernstein
  • They were not only compelled to use, but were even thankful to obtain, this impure beverage.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • And is it not better to have pure night air from out of doors than the impure night air of a close room?

British Dictionary definitions for impure


not pure; combined with something else; tainted or sullied
(in certain religions)
  1. (of persons) ritually unclean and as such debarred from certain religious ceremonies
  2. (of foodstuffs, vessels, etc) debarred from certain religious uses
(of a colour) mixed with another colour or with black or white
of more than one origin or style, as of architecture or other design
Derived Forms
impurely, adverb
impureness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impure

mid-15c., from Middle French impur (13c.), from Latin impurus "unclean, filthy, foul," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + purus "pure" (see pure). As a noun from 1784. Related: Impurely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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