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  1. not pure; mixed with extraneous matter, especially of an inferior or contaminating nature: impure water and air.
  2. modified by admixture, as color.
  3. mixed or combined with something else: an impure style of architecture.
  4. regarded by a religion as unclean, as animals or things.
  5. not morally pure or proper; unchaste or obscene: impure thoughts.
  6. marked by foreign and unsuitable or objectionable elements or characteristics, as a style of art or of literary expression.
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Origin of impure

From the Latin word impūrus, dating back to 1530–40. See im-2, pure
Related formsim·pure·ly, adverbim·pure·ness, noun

Synonyms for impure

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for impure

unclean, adulterated, carnal, coarse, common, corrupt, debased, defiled, diluted, dirty, filthy, foul, gross, grubby, immodest, immoral, indecent, lewd, nasty, obscene

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Contemporary Examples of impure

Historical Examples of impure

British Dictionary definitions for impure


  1. not pure; combined with something else; tainted or sullied
  2. (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
  3. (of a colour) mixed with another colour or with black or white
  4. of more than one origin or style, as of architecture or other design
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Derived Formsimpurely, adverbimpureness, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper