cor·​rode | \ kə-ˈrōd How to pronounce corrode (audio) \
corroded; corroding

Definition of corrode

transitive verb

1 : to eat away by degrees as if by gnawing especially : to wear away gradually usually by chemical action the metal was corroded beyond repair
2 : to weaken or destroy gradually : undermine manners and miserliness that corrode the human spirit— Bernard De Voto

Other Words from corrode

corrodible \ kə-​ˈrō-​də-​bəl How to pronounce corrode (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for corrode


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Corrode comes from Latin corrodere ("to gnaw to pieces"), a combination of the suffix "cor-" (used here as an intensifier with the meaning of "completely") and the verb "rodere" ("to gnaw"). At one time, "corrode" was used to literally indicate the action of gnawing away, as in "woodworms corroded the wood." But it is the more figurative senses from the action of gnawing or eating away that have persisted, as in "salt water corroded the iron" or "graphic content on television and the Internet is corroding the moral fabric of society."

Examples of corrode in a Sentence

Rainwater may corrode the steel containers. Over time, the pipes become corroded and need to be replaced. After a few weeks in the ocean, the boat began to corrode. Years of lies and secrets had corroded their relationship.
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Recent Examples on the Web Wiring and plumbing components corrode or shake loose underway. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Nov. 2021 But putting the solution onto an already-frozen windshield won't help, the Farmers' Almanac says, and its use could even hurt your vehicle because vinegar can corrode chrome and paint. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 11 Dec. 2021 But their projects show an effort to express anger in ways that create, rather than corrode, a sense of community. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Oct. 2021 The upshot—why drink a chemical that can corrode your gut, mess up your thyroid, kill your kidneys, or kill you? Judy Stone, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 Lenders worried that rampant inflation will corrode their assets, diminishing their wealth through irregular means of de facto appropriation. Sam Negus, National Review, 10 Oct. 2021 In the pipeline industry, braces and other mechanisms, previously anchored into permafrost, often corrode, twist and bend when the earth below changes, according to ecologists and other researchers. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2021 Pella claims its proprietary low-maintenance fiberglass will never rot or corrode and doesn't require repainting or refinishing. Maria Masters, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Aug. 2021 Moisture in the insulation blankets can can corrode and disrupt electrical systems, result in mold/fungus, and add weight to the aircraft. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'corrode.' 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 corrode

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for corrode

Middle English corroden, borrowed from Latin corrōdere "to gnaw, chew up," from cor-, variant before r of com- com- + rōdere "to gnaw, nibble, eat away" — more at rodent

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The first known use of corrode was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Corrode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for corrode



English Language Learners Definition of corrode

: to slowly break apart and destroy (metal, an object, etc.) through a chemical process
: to gradually destroy or weaken (something)


cor·​rode | \ kə-ˈrōd How to pronounce corrode (audio) \
corroded; corroding

Kids Definition of corrode

1 : to wear away little by little (as by rust or acid)
2 : to gradually destroy or weaken corroding traditions


cor·​rode | \ kə-ˈrōd How to pronounce corrode (audio) \
corroded; corroding

Medical Definition of corrode

transitive verb

: to eat away by degrees as if by gnawing especially : to wear away gradually usually by chemical action

More from Merriam-Webster on corrode

Nglish: Translation of corrode for Spanish Speakers


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