Meaning of “pollute” in the English Dictionary

"pollute" in British English

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polluteverb [ T ]

uk /pəˈluːt/ us /pəˈluːt/

B2 to make an area or substance, usually air, water, or soil, dirty or harmful to people, animals, and plants, especially by adding harmful chemicals:

The pesticides used on many farms are polluting the water supply.
We won't invest in any company that pollutes the environment.
figurative Many complain that broadcasters pollute the airwaves with sensationalism and sleaze.

More examples

  • We should respect the environment and not pollute it.
  • The fertilizers and pesticides used on many farms are polluting the water supply.
  • Oil from the wrecked tanker polluted more than 40 miles of the Normandy shoreline.
  • The fund provides money to clean up chemically polluted industrial sites.
  • High concentrations of toxic elements were found in the polluted areas of the sea.

(Definition of “pollute” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pollute" in American English

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polluteverb [ T ]

us /pəˈlut/

to make air, water, or earth dirty or harmful to people, animals, and plants, esp. by adding harmful chemicals or waste:

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are polluting the groundwater.
pollutant
noun [ C ] us /pəˈlu·tənt/

Maybe there’s some kind of chemical pollutant in their drinking water.

(Definition of “pollute” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"pollute" in Business English

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polluteverb [ I or T ]

uk /pəˈluːt/ us

ENVIRONMENT to make water, the air, or land dirty and not safe for people, animals, and plants, especially with waste or chemicals:

You don't need to pollute the planet to grow your economy.
He expects coal plants built after 2012 to be equipped with technology for capturing and storing carbon emissions so that they will not pollute.

(Definition of “pollute” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)