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 corrodible (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 But such insight is an exception; most of these characters, corroded by complicity, can’t or won’t identify the source of their pain. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "“The Divers’ Game,” Jesse Ball’s Unnerving Parable of a Country That Feigns Innocence," 23 Sep. 2019 Low-oxygen conditions also contribute to more caustic water that can slowly corrode lead and copper service lines over time and raise the potential for exposure to those metals. Tony Briscoe,, "Cleveland residents are used to their water being brown, but they don’t know why. The answer lies at the bottom of Lake Erie.," 14 Nov. 2019 On a sunny morning in May, one of the 91-year-old dam’s corroded spillway gates suddenly gave way. Michelle Minkoff, The Denver Post, "Thousands face risk because of aging U.S. dams, including some in Colorado, AP finds," 10 Nov. 2019 The Talbots found a truck — corroded red paint, bed weighed down with debris and dirt — but in relatively good condition. oregonlive, "Oregon divers who found truck, submerged for 26 years, hope to learn more about its owner," 24 Oct. 2019 The Oakland County Health Department says lead can get into water through corrosion of plumbing materials, especially when the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. Steve Pepple, Detroit Free Press, "Oak Park says third of 30 houses sampled had lead in water," 21 Oct. 2019 The atomization of the news media has corroded our public discourse in a pretty profound way. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Trump's favorite county," 3 Aug. 2018 Acidic water can corrode lead pipes and carry lead that leaches from them to the tap. Maura C. Allaire, The Conversation, "How to address America’s lead crisis and provide safe drinking water for all," 3 Sep. 2019 Wastewater in the Eagle Ford can reach 160- to 180-Fahrenheit degree range, according to a joint statement from the companies, which can corrode standard steel piping. Marissa Luck, Houston Chronicle, "Chevron Phillips, EVX Midstream partner on plastic water pipeline in Eagle Ford," 9 Aug. 2019

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

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Corrode.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for corrode


How to pronounce corrode (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on corrode

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for corrode

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with corrode

Spanish Central: Translation of corrode

Nglish: Translation of corrode for Spanish Speakers

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