corrode

verb

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

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
corrodible adjective

Did you know?

Corrode comes from Latin corrodere ("to gnaw to pieces"), a combination of the prefix "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."

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web To make their discovery, researchers attached cameras to the sharks with biodegradable cables and swivel connectors that were designed to corrode in seawater after 24 hours. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2022 The claims are fueling the candidacies of election deniers and threatening to further corrode faith in voting and democracy. David Klepper, Fortune, 3 Nov. 2022 The claims are fueling the candidacies of election deniers and threatening to further corrode faith in voting and democracy. David Klepper, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Nov. 2022 Meanwhile, samples from the ship also showed various species of bacteria that the team speculates are working to corrode the steel of the hull. Doug Johnson, Ars Technica, 19 Oct. 2022 Heat and moisture affect how quickly the batteries corrode, so store devices in a dry, cool place. Joe Difazio, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2022 The process is costly, and remains relatively inefficient, as melting the metals is energy-intensive and acid baths can corrode and damage metals before they can be recycled. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 3 Aug. 2022 An accumulation of road salt may cause the frame mounting surface, where the fuel tank mounting bands are attached, to corrode and possibly detach the fuel tank, which can result in a fuel leak. Detroit Free Press, 1 July 2022 Before the November midterms and the 2024 presidential election, concerns are growing that conspiracy-minded people in those positions could further corrode trust in the process by spreading misinformation or violating procedures. Arit John, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near corrode

Cite this Entry

“Corrode.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/corrode. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

corrode

verb
cor·​rode kə-ˈrōd How to pronounce corrode (audio)
corroded; corroding
: to eat or be eaten away by degrees as if by gnawing
a bridge corroded by rust

Medical Definition

corrode

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

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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