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[puh-loo-shuh n] /pəˈlu ʃən/
the act of polluting or the state of being polluted.
the introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment:
air pollution.
Origin of pollution
1350-1400; Middle English pollucioun (< Old French) < Late Latin pollūtiōn-, stem of pollūtiō defilement; see pollute, -ion
Related forms
self-pollution, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pollution
  • Radioactive contamination may be the one case for which the solution to pollution really is dilution.
  • Wake up and smell the air pollution.
  • Assessing the status of marine life around the world has gained urgency in this era of coastal pollution and alarming overfishing.
  • There's no light pollution, so the sky is bright with stars.
  • But the ocean is showing alarming strains caused by pollution, overfishing, invasive species and climate change.
  • From a sports perspective, he argues, the city's pollution makes it unfit to host the games.
  • Scientists say the outlook for the world's oceans is bleak—unless we stop overfishing and reduce air and water pollution.
  • This is wasting more energy and creating even more pollution.
  • Louisiana's fisheries will probably face some environmental challenges from oil spills and other pollution caused by the storm.
  • Nationwide, stormwater is a leading source of water pollution.
British Dictionary definitions for pollution


the act of polluting or the state of being polluted
harmful or poisonous substances introduced into an environment
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 pollution

mid-14c., "discharge of semen other than during sex," later, "desecration, defilement" (late 14c.), from Late Latin pollutionem (nominative pollutio) "defilement," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin polluere "to soil, defile, contaminate," from por- "before" + -luere "smear," from PIE root *leu- "dirt; make dirty" (cf. Latin lutum "mud, mire, clay," lues "filth;" Greek lyma "filth, dirt, disgrace," lymax "rubbish, refuse;" Old Irish loth "mud, dirt;" Lithuanian lutynas "pool, puddle"). Sense of "contamination of the environment" first recorded c.1860, but not common until c.1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pollution in Medicine

pollution pol·lu·tion (pə-lōō'shən)

  1. The act or process of polluting or the state of being polluted, especially the contamination of soil, water, or the atmosphere by the discharge of harmful substances.

  2. A pollutant or a group of pollutants.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pollution in Science
The contamination of air, water, or soil by substances that are harmful to living organisms. Pollution can occur naturally, for example through volcanic eruptions, or as the result of human activities, such as the spilling of oil or disposal of industrial waste. ◇ Light from cities and towns at night that interferes with astronomical observations is known as light pollution. It can also disturb natural rhythms of growth in plants and other organisms. ◇ Continuous noise that is loud enough to be annoying or physically harmful is known as noise pollution. ◇ Heat from hot water that is discharged from a factory into a river or lake, where it can kill or endanger aquatic life, is known as thermal pollution.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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