- To pollute is to dirty, contaminate or corrupt something or someone.
When you dump toxic waste into water, this is an example of a time when you pollute the water.
transitive verbpolluted, polluting
- to make unclean, impure, or corrupt; defile; dirty
- to contaminate (water, air, etc.) with harmful chemicals, waste material, etc.
Origin of polluteMiddle English poluten ; from Classical Latin pollutus, past participle of polluere, to pollute ; from an unverified form por-, for per-, intensive + -luere, to soil ; from Indo-European base an unverified form leu-, dirt from source Classical Greek lyma, dirt
transitive verbpol·lut·ed, pol·lut·ing, pol·lutes
- To make unfit for or harmful to living things, especially by the addition of waste matter. See Synonyms at contaminate.
- To make less suitable for an activity, especially by the introduction of unwanted factors: The stadium lights polluted the sky around the observatory.
- To render impure or morally harmful; corrupt: felt that the minds of young people were hopelessly polluted by television ads.
Origin of polluteMiddle English polluten, from Latin polluere, pollūt-.
(third-person singular simple present pollutes, present participle polluting, simple past and past participle polluted)
- To make something harmful, especially by the addition of some unwanted product.
- The factory polluted the river when it cleaned its tanks.
- To make something or somewhere less suitable for some activity, especially by the introduction of some unnatural factor.
- The lights from the stadium polluted the night sky, and we couldn't see the stars.
- (dated) To corrupt or profane
- To violate sexually; to debauch; to dishonour.
- (rare) Polluted.
From Middle English polluten, from Latin pollÅ«tum, from pollÅ«tus (“no longer virgin", "unchaste"), perfect passive participle of polluÅ (“soil", "defile", "dishonor").