[ puh-loot ]
See synonyms for: pollutepollutedpolluting on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),pol·lut·ed, pol·lut·ing.
  1. to make foul or unclean, especially with harmful chemical or waste products; dirty: to pollute the air with smoke.

  2. to make morally unclean; defile.

  1. to render ceremonially impure; desecrate: to pollute a house of worship.

  2. Informal. to render less effective or efficient: The use of inferior equipment has polluted the company's service.

Origin of pollute

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English polute, from Latin pollūtus, past participle of polluere “to soil, defile,” equivalent to pol-, assimilated variant of por- “forth, forward” (variant of prefix per- ), here marking completed action + -lū- base of -luere (akin to lutum “mud, dirt,” lustrum “muddy place”) + -tus past participle suffix; see per-

Other words for pollute

Opposites for pollute

Other words from pollute

  • pol·lut·er, noun
  • pol·lu·tive, adjective
  • non·pol·lut·ing, adjective
  • un·pol·lut·ing, adjective

Words Nearby pollute

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pollute in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pollute


/ (pəˈluːt) /

  1. to contaminate, as with poisonous or harmful substances

  2. to make morally corrupt or impure; sully

  1. to desecrate or defile

Origin of pollute

C14 polute, from Latin polluere to defile

Derived forms of pollute

  • polluter, 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