biodegradable

adjective
bio·​de·​grad·​able | \ ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-di-ˈgrā-də-bəl How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \

Definition of biodegradable

: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things (such as microorganisms) biodegradable trash bags

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Other Words from biodegradable

biodegradability \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​di-​ˌgrā-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce biodegradability (audio) \ noun
biodegradable noun, plural biodegradables
"… we would never discourage the development of technologies that promote recyclables or biodegradables. [=biodegradable materials]" — Ruth Lampi
biodegradation \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​ˌde-​grə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce biodegradation (audio) \ noun
biodegrade \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​di-​ˈgrād How to pronounce biodegrade (audio) \ verb

Did You Know?

In biodegradable, with its root grad, "to step or move", and its prefix de- "downward", we get an adjective describing things that can be broken down into basic substances through normal environmental processes. Animal and plant products are normally biodegradable, but mineral substances such as metals, glass, and plastics usually are not. Newly developed biodegradable plastics are now appearing in numerous products. However, "biodegradable" products can vary greatly in how long they take to break down. A loaf of bread may require only a couple of weeks, and a piece of paper may vanish in a couple of months, but some "biodegradable" plastic milk cartons may take four or five years.

Examples of biodegradable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Since trees are naturally biodegradable (artificial trees are a different story, of course), recycling your Christmas tree helps balance out some of the environmental impact that buying one has in the first place. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Recycling Your Christmas Tree," 20 Dec. 2018 Mixing water with a biodegradable liquid dishwashing detergent and spraying has been known to sink the ants as well, according to Nester. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Florence floodwaters result in 'islands' of floating fire ants," 19 Sep. 2018 Hearst’s commitment to sustainability, of course, begins with her clothes: Her suits are spun from the wool of her family’s Uruguay sheep farm, and those suits are shipped in 100 percent biodegradable packaging. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Gabriela Hearst Just Opened the Most Beautiful Store in New York City," 5 Nov. 2018 Renewable resources? Recyclable and biodegradable packaging? Meirav Devash, Allure, "I Tried a Sustainable Beauty Routine for a Month to See How Easy It Is to Go Green," 15 Oct. 2018 But perhaps in the future, more efficient, biodegradable plastic might protect your foods and drinks in a more sustainable way. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Future 'Plastic' Could Be Made From Trees and Crab Shells," 1 Aug. 2018 Every step of the process takes place in a series of medical-grade, biodegradable plastic bags; pumps transfer the wine from bag to bag—no tanks, barrels, transfer or cleanup required. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "The Winery That Fits in a Closet," 12 Oct. 2018 All told, the speakers are made from 80 percent biodegradable materials, an impressive feat in an industry known for creating large amounts of e-waste. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Hand-thrown clay speakers marry craftsmanship and sustainability," 29 Aug. 2018 The oil contained the building blocks of a biodegradable polymer. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using a virus to kill what antibiotics can’t," 18 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biodegradable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biodegradable

1959, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for biodegradable

The first known use of biodegradable was in 1959

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More Definitions for biodegradable

biodegradable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of biodegradable

: capable of being slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural processes, bacteria, etc.

biodegradable

adjective
bio·​de·​grad·​able | \ ˌbī-ō-di-ˈgrā-də-bəl How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \

Kids Definition of biodegradable

: possible to break down into very small harmless parts by the action of living things (as bacteria)

biodegradable

adjective
bio·​de·​grad·​able | \ -di-ˈgrād-ə-bəl How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \

Medical Definition of biodegradable

: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things (as microorganisms)

Other Words from biodegradable

biodegradability \ -​ˌgrād-​ə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce biodegradability (audio) \ noun, plural -ties
biodegradation \ -​ˌdeg-​rə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce biodegradation (audio) \ noun
biodegrade \ -​di-​ˈgrād How to pronounce biodegrade (audio) \ verb biodegraded; biodegrading

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More from Merriam-Webster on biodegradable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with biodegradable

Spanish Central: Translation of biodegradable

Nglish: Translation of biodegradable for Spanish Speakers

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