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

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Other Words from corrode

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

Synonyms for corrode


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Did You Know?

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 The speedometer assembly resistors may corrode and cause a loss of power to the wheel speed sensor, preventing the speedometer and odometer from displaying information. USA TODAY, "Car recalls for April 29-May 6," 6 May 2021 Blades with a higher carbon content also rust and corrode more easily. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "How to Pick the Best Knife Steel," 5 Mar. 2021 Pellegrinelli says the fermentation process of sourdough starter will corrode metal. Tamara Gane, Southern Living, "How to Store Sourdough Starter," 5 Mar. 2021 But with age, the rubber seal might deteriorate, and the retaining nut can corrode. Motormouth Bob Weber, Star Tribune, "Motormouth: Go with ethanol-free gas during storage," 19 Feb. 2021 If water isn't treated properly and lead service pipes corrode, the metal can get into drinking water supplies. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and top officials to be charged in Flint investigation: Report," 12 Jan. 2021 Still, his fear that modern office life would corrode personal freedom was borne out. Richard Cooke, The New Republic, "The Perpetual Disappointment of Remote Work," 4 Jan. 2021 Although its powers appeared absolute, Descartes’ demon couldn’t corrode all sources of certainty. Washington Post, "The shadowy spirits that helped advance science," 24 Dec. 2020 Ford has recalled 350,000 Ford Explorers built between 2013 and 2017 for the potential for the rear suspension toe link to corrode and fracture. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "350,000 2013–2017 Ford Explorers Recalled for Suspension Issue," 4 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for corrode

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

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Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Corrode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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

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Nglish: Translation of corrode for Spanish Speakers

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