- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for pollute on Thesaurus.com
- to contaminate, as with poisonous or harmful substances
- to make morally corrupt or impure; sully
- to desecrate or defile
Word Origin and History for non-polluting
late 14c., "to defile," a back formation from pollution, or else from Latin pollutus, past participle of polluere "to defile, pollute, contaminate." Related: Polluted; polluting. Meaning "make physically foul" is from 1540s; specific sense "contaminate the environment" emerged from late 19c.
- 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.