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[puh-loot-nt] /pəˈlut nt/
something that pollutes.
any substance, as certain chemicals or waste products, that renders the air, soil, water, or other natural resource harmful or unsuitable for a specific purpose.
1890-95; pollute + -ant
Related forms
nonpollutant, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pollutants
  • That's the only reply industry ever makes to the the knowledge of the harm caused by their pollutants or their designs.
  • Manufacturers would use fewer pollutants, gadgets would contain more recyclable materials, and computers would cost less.
  • The same technology could be used to detecting smuggled drugs or airborne pollutants.
  • Urban climatologists are working to predict how canyon design can affect temperatures, winds, and the concentration of pollutants.
  • It helps gasoline burn more efficiently and cuts down on air pollutants.
  • They could be used, for instance, to track the spread of pollutants from their point of discharge into a river.
  • It's in a remote area, so there were no light pollutants.
  • The plume would mix with other pollutants in the air, but the selenium came along as a trace element.
  • Probably the biggest damage caused by the alarmists is the legitimate effort to remove harmful pollutants from the air.
  • It is not that the pollutants do not bind to the protein-they do.
British Dictionary definitions for pollutants


a substance that pollutes, esp a chemical or similar substance that is produced as a waste product of an industrial process
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
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Word Origin and History for pollutants



1888, from pollute + -ant. Related: Pollutants.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pollutants in Medicine

pollutant pol·lut·ant (pə-lōōt'nt)
Something that pollutes, especially a waste material that contaminates air, soil, or water.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pollutants in Science
A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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