- 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
1325–75; Middle English polute < Latin pollūtus past participle of polluere to soil, defile, equivalent to pol-, assimilated variant of por- (see pollicitation; here marking the action as complete) + -lū- base of -luere (akin to lutum mud, dirt, lustrum muddy place) + -tus past participle suffix
Synonyms for pollute
Antonyms for pollute
1, 2. purify.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to contaminate, as with poisonous or harmful substances
- to make morally corrupt or impure; sully
- to desecrate or defile
Word Origin for pollute
C14 polute, from Latin polluere to defile
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.