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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.

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

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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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
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper