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  1. something that pollutes.
  2. any substance, as certain chemicals or waste products, that renders the air, soil, water, or other natural resource harmful or unsuitable for a specific purpose.

Origin of pollutant

First recorded in 1890–95; pollute + -ant
Related formsnon·pol·lu·tant, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for pollutant


  1. a substance that pollutes, esp a chemical or similar substance that is produced as a waste product of an industrial process
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 pollutant


1888, from pollute + -ant. Related: Pollutants.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pollutant in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. Something that pollutes, especially a waste material that contaminates air, soil, or water.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

pollutant in Science


  1. A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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