Simple Definition of decompose
: to cause something (such as dead plants and the bodies of dead animals) to be slowly destroyed and broken down by natural processes, chemicals, etc.
: to cause something (such as a chemical) to be separated into smaller or simpler parts
Full Definition of decompose
Examples of decompose
Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter.
the smell of decomposing leaves
The compound will decompose in the presence of light.
Origin of decompose
French décomposer, from dé- de + composer to compose
First Known Use: 1718
Synonym Discussion of decompose
Medical Definition of decompose
: to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds <decompose water by electrolysis>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up decompose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).