• WordNet 3.6
    • n impurity the condition of being impure
    • n impurity worthless or dangerous material that should be removed "there were impurities in the water"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Colored diamonds are caused by impurities such as nitrogen (yellow), boron (blue). With red diamonds being due to deformities in the structure of the stone, and green ones being the result of irradiation.
    • Impurity (Script) Lack of ceremonial purity; defilement.
    • Impurity That which is, or which renders anything, impure; foul matter, action, language, etc.; a foreign ingredient. "Foul impurities reigned among the monkish clergy."
    • Impurity The condition or quality of being impure in any sense; defilement; foulness; adulteration. "Profaneness, impurity , or scandal, is not wit."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Unlike dogs, pigs, and some other mammals, humans cannot taste water. They taste only the chemicals and impurities in the water.
    • n impurity The condition or quality of being impure, in either a physical or a moral sense.
    • n impurity That which is or makes impure, physically or morally: as, impurities in a liquid.
    • n impurity Synonyms Uncleanness, dirtiness, filthiness; immodesty, ribaldry, grossness, vulgarity.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Impurity quality of being impure
    • ***


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Gross and obscure natures, however decorated, seem impure shambles; but character gives splendor to youth, and awe to wrinkled skin and gray hairs.”
  • Rainer Maria Rilke
    “All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you.”
  • Dan Quayle
    “It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
  • Wyndham Lewis
    “All orthodox opinion -- that is, today, revolutionary opinion either of the pure or the impure variety -- is anti-man.”
  • Jean Rostand
    “We are not na?ve enough to ask for pure men; we ask merely for men whose impurity does not conflict with the obligations of their job.”
  • George Bernard Shaw
    “When Satan makes impure verses, Allah sends a divine tune to cleanse them.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. impuritas,: cf. F. impureté,


In literature:

Love is impure; so are birth, and death, and eating, and every other necessary part in the life of a man.
"Hills and the Sea" by H. Belloc
The washing waters carry off some sulphides, as well as mechanical impurities.
"Scientific American Supplement, No. 530, February 27, 1886" by Various
All the impurities and disease germs are thereby destroyed.
"Searchlights on Health" by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols
The trouble is impurity.
"The Library of Work and Play: Gardening and Farming." by Ellen Eddy Shaw
But my own sins frighten me, and my impure conscience repels me from taking hold of such great mysteries.
"The Worlds Greatest Books, Volume XIII." by Various
"Youth and Sex" by Mary Scharlieb and F. Arthur Sibly
Such language in Japan cannot be counted impure, for no such idea accompanies the words.
"Evolution Of The Japanese, Social And Psychic" by Sidney L. Gulick
Shall we mire in impurity, and chase fantastic will-o'-the-wisps across the swamps, when we might walk in the blooming gardens of God?
"Brave Men and Women" by O.E. Fuller
Earth is steeped in impurity, whose slightest drops yield growths of shame.
"Abbe Mouret's Transgression La Faute De L'abbe Mouret" by Emile Zola
Iron, it is argued, was deemed impure.
"Manual Of Egyptian Archaeology And Guide To The Study Of Antiquities In Egypt" by Gaston Camille Charles Maspero

In poetry:

Dreadfully staring
Thro' muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fix'd on futurity.
"The Bridge of Sighs" by Thomas Hood
Rarest woods were coarse and rough,
Sweetest spice not sweet enough,
Too impure all earthly fire
For this sacred funeral-pyre;
These rich relics must suffice
For their own dear sacrifice.
"On Burning Some Old Letters" by James Russell Lowell
The millwheels of heaven grind slowly but sure,
To purge all the wicked of all that's impure;
While "Right must prevail" we shall win in the fray,
The God of our fathers our hope and our stay.
"Hail to Lochiel And Lovat" by Angus Cameron Robertson
Else--in him inhering powers of intellection--
Death, by interfering with his mind's perfection,
Itself gives security to restore life's treasure,
Freed from all impurity and in endless measure.
"A Pagan Reverie" by Frances Fuller Victor
Beware! for when once ye have made your Red Ocean,
Its waves shall rise up with tempestuous swell,
And hurl your stained souls, like impurities, from them
Up death's dark slope, to the skull beach of Hell!
"Pro Patria: America, 1861" by Adah Isaacs Menken
That close dim room was her home for years
With all things vile to endure,
Irksome labour, and quarrels, and jeers,
And words and deeds impure,
And so till Death,— amid sorrows and fears,
And all without a cure!
"A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. II. The Factory Slave" by Martin Farquhar Tupper

In news:

The makers of dictionaries and encyclopedists in general have mixed, impure motives.
(Sept 16, 2010) Once again — see this week's "Mailbox" — my neighbor Neal Latt upbraids the Journal for ideological impurity when it comes to matters Arklish.
Reliably detecting low amounts of high molecular weight impurities during process development and characterization of biopharmaceutical products.
A pilot wetland held at the UN-Manizales Hydraulic Lab works as an aeration media and eliminates "impurities" from home residual water.
The rubber is melted, cleaned of impurities and particulates, and then given a new life as a sink.
Norquist himself dismissed the defectors' "impure thoughts.".
Can Communism in the course of time, with sufficient dilution and added impurity, catch the multitude.
Test Method Ca 5a-40 Ca 3a-46 Ca 2c-25 or Ca 2b-38 Cc 8d-55 Cc 12-59 Ca 6a-40 Determination Free Fatty Acids Insoluble Impurities Moisture.
The recent outbreak of a potentially fatal disease linked to L-tryptophan probably came from an impurity introduced by a change in how the dietary supplement was made, scientists say.
Impurity Linked To Adverse Events.
At Evergreen Forest Products, new scanners will read rough-cut timber, showing mill workers how to get around impurities such as knots.
Certain fossil stations also report sub-parts per billion (ppb) levels of these same impurities in the polished condensate.
GOP concern over tax pledge just 'impure thoughts'.
Air pollution is difficult to track and prevent because plumes of impurities that originate in one country can drift half a world away, ultimately affecting the climate and human health on different continents.
It can take two to three years of constant extraction to clear groundwater and soil of impurities resulting from gasoline and other petroleum-related contamination.

In science:

The simplest case, in which the state couples to other excitations through Coulomb interaction alone, can be recast as an impurity problem, and transitions involving the localized level occur at rates determined by matrix elements between states of the manybody system with and without the impurity.
Orthogonality Catastrophe Revisited
We begin by giving a proof of oft cited fact that the overlap between the ground state of the many electron system without the impurity and the eigenstates of the system with the impurity present are exponentially small in the number of excitations which separate them.
Orthogonality Catastrophe Revisited
Within the composite-fermion theory of this parameter is found to be equal to 1/√2, if the density of ionized impurities ni is assumed to be equal to the electron density n and if correlations between the impurity positions are neglected.
Zero-frequency anomaly in quasiclassical ac transport: Memory effects in a two-dimensional metal with a long-range random potential or random magnetic field
However, by adding donor impurities to the high-energy or barrier side of the heterostructure, electrons will escape to the low-energy side of the interface, leaving the then-ionized impurity centers behind.
Quantum Phenomena in Low-Dimensional Systems
In the second case, where the persistent current in the absence of magnetic impurities is paramagnetic, the current is not reduced by a low concentration of impurities; at low temperature it is even enhanced considerably.
Persistent Currents versus Phase Breaking in Mesoscopic Metallic Samples