decompose


de·com·pose

verb \ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz\

: 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

transitive verb
1
:  to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds <decompose water by electrolysis> <decompose a word into its base and affixes>
2
:  rot
intransitive verb
:  to break up into constituent parts by or as if by a chemical process :  decay, rot <fruit decomposes>
de·com·pos·abil·i·ty \-ˌpō-zə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
de·com·pos·able \-ˈpō-zə-bəl\ adjective
de·com·po·si·tion \(ˌ)dē-ˌkäm-pə-ˈzi-shən\ noun

Examples of DECOMPOSE

  1. Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter.
  2. the smell of decomposing leaves
  3. The compound will decompose in the presence of light.

Origin of DECOMPOSE

French décomposer, from dé- de + composer to compose
First Known Use: 1718

Other Microbiology Terms

pathogen, salmonella, tetanus

de·com·pose

verb \ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz\   (Medical Dictionary)
de·com·posedde·com·pos·ing

Medical Definition of DECOMPOSE

transitive verb
: to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds <decompose water by electrolysis>
intransitive verb
: to undergo chemical breakdown : decay, rot <fruit decomposes>
de·com·pos·abil·i·ty \-ˌpō-zə-ˈbil-ət-ē\ noun, plural de·com·pos·abil·i·ties
de·com·pos·able \-ˈpō-zə-bəl\ adjective

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