MooT Question Icon
Originally, it denoted the "discharge of semen other than during sex." Now it denotes any environmental contamination. What word is it?




Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.


A picture of a moot game

The critically-acclaimed board game MooT
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
To join our mailing list and get
free brain-twisting MooT questions sent to you irregularly,
enter your email address and then press submit.

E-Mail address:




Back to home page



Answer: pollution

The word pollution entered English denoting "discharge of semen other than during sex." It derives from the Latin polluere, to soil, defile, or contaminate. The sense "contamination of the environment" was first recorded in about 1860, but was not common until the 1950s.

Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.