- to make foul or unclean, especially with harmful chemical or waste products; dirty: to pollute the air with smoke.
- to make morally unclean; defile.
- to render ceremonially impure; desecrate: to pollute a house of worship.
- Informal. to render less effective or efficient: The use of inferior equipment has polluted the company's service.
Origin of pollute
1325–75; Middle English polute < Latin pollūtus past participle of polluere to soil, defile, equivalent to pol-, assimilated variant of por- (see pollicitation; here marking the action as complete) + -lū- base of -luere (akin to lutum mud, dirt, lustrum muddy place) + -tus past participle suffix
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. soil, befoul. 2. taint, contaminate, vitiate, corrupt, debase, deprave.
1, 2. purify.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (of a fuel, vehicle, technology, etc) not resulting in or causing pollution
- to contaminate, as with poisonous or harmful substances
- to make morally corrupt or impure; sully
- to desecrate or defile
C14 polute, from Latin polluere to defile
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
Word Origin and History for nonpolluting
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To make unfit for or harmful to living things, especially by the addition of waste matter; contaminate.
- To make less suitable for an activity, especially by the introduction of unwanted factors.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.