- 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
Examples from the Web for pollute
Heaven forbid we pollute young minds with such right-wing neocon propaganda!Rutgers’s Silly Condoleezza Rice Protest
Kristen Soltis Anderson
May 5, 2014
We pollute, but our feeble efforts at cleanup have been largely unsuccessful.Beware at the Beach, the Jellyfish Rule the Seas and It’s Our Fault
June 20, 2013
Livestock degrade land, contribute to climate change, pollute water, and destroy biodiversity.Meat Glue, Pink Slime, Health Risks & More Reasons to Never Eat Meat
The Daily Beast
March 13, 2012
Look for this aquaculture to catch on as mankind, unfortunately, continues to pollute our waterways.What's Next for Foodies
Jacquelynn D. Powers
September 10, 2010
Then, recovering himself, he said angrily, "Pollute not my Daniel with thy touch."Dreamers of the Ghetto
Stained and despised by the world, as I am, I will not pollute this sanctuary!The Home
What miserable scruples to torment, blind, and pollute the soul!Robert Orange
John Oliver Hobbes
And now must you pollute the name of my mother, as you polluted her life?Madeline Payne, the Detective's Daughter
Lawrence L. Lynch
Factories may not pollute streams that furnish drinking water.Civics and Health
William H. Allen
- to contaminate, as with poisonous or harmful substances
- to make morally corrupt or impure; sully
- to desecrate or defile
Word Origin and History for pollute
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.