Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make unfit for or harmful to living things, especially by the addition of waste matter. synonym: contaminate.
  • transitive verb To make less suitable for an activity, especially by the introduction of unwanted factors.
  • transitive verb To render impure or morally harmful; corrupt.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make foul or unclean; render impure; defile; soil; taint.
  • To corrupt or defile in a moral sense; destroy the perfection or purity of; impair; profane.
  • Specifically, to render legally or ceremonially unclean, so as to be unfit for sacred services or uses.
  • To violate sexually; debauch or dishonor.
  • Polluted; defiled.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To make foul, impure, or unclean; to defile; to taint; to soil; to desecrate; -- used of physical or moral defilement.
  • transitive verb To violate sexually; to debauch; to dishonor.
  • transitive verb (Jewish Law) To render ceremonially unclean; to disqualify or unfit for sacred use or service, or for social intercourse.
  • adjective rare Polluted.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To make something harmful, especially by the addition of some unwanted product.
  • verb transitive To make something or somewhere less suitable for some activity, especially by the introduction of some unnatural factor.
  • verb dated To corrupt or profane
  • adjective rare Polluted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb make impure

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English polluten, from Latin polluere, pollūt-.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English polluten, from Latin pollūtum, from pollūtus ("no longer virgin", "unchaste"), perfect passive participle of polluō ("soil", "defile", "dishonor").

Examples

  • I forgive you, said I, and wish you happy; yet, on this condition only, that you never again pollute my ears with the recital of your infamous passion.

    The Coquette, or, The History of Eliza Wharton: A Novel Founded on Fact

  • The hook in the bill is the proposal of capping emissions of greenhouse gases each year, allowing companies to buy and sell permits to "pollute" - translated it means that a coal-fired electric plant who violates it carbon cap can buy a carbon credit from a hydro-producing power facility that didn't use their allotted carbon credits,,, it's called

    WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

  • The flamboyant, bleach-blond politician also has called for taxing clothing commonly worn by Muslims, such as headscarves – or "head rags," as he once called them – because they "pollute" the Dutch landscape.

    Geert Wilders, Anti-Islam Dutch Politician, On Trial For Hate Speech Charges

  • Wait a few moments, then click on your hero to 'pollute' the water.

    Archive 2007-08-01

  • Are we going to stand up and play it in an honorable fashion or we're going to do something like what Governor Sanford did, which was to inflict so much suffering and humiliation on his wife and to really kind of pollute and destroy this home that his four sons are growing up in and a part of.

    CNN Transcript Jul 3, 2009

  • Juries may award millions, but these cases arguably similar to use of Ford cars to 'pollute' are always shot down at the appellate stage for lack of proximate causation.

    An Esper Divergence Problem « Climate Audit

  • Laboratory space, particularly hoods (the kind exhausted only by draft caused by a gas burner causing warm air to raise and take some of the obnoxious fumes through a chimney) was very scarce and even by the time I became an assistant professor it was not welcome to "pollute" more important conventional work.

    George A. Olah - Autobiography

  • They did not believe that the values and life style of foreigners were equal to their own, and therefore they did not want to grant the outsiders the freedom to "pollute" American society with alien cultures.

    The Black Experience in America

  • We speak not now of those, who amidst the monuments of oppression are engaged in the sacred vocation; who, as ministers of the Gospel, can "prophesy smooth things" to such as pollute the altar of Jehovah with human sacrifices; nay, who themselves bind the victim and kindle the sacrifice.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 4 of 4

  • We speak not now of those, who amidst the monuments of oppression are engaged in the sacred vocation; who, as ministers of the Gospel, can "prophesy smooth things" to such as pollute the altar of Jehovah with human sacrifices; nay, who themselves bind the victim and kindle the sacrifice.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

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