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 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 The design increased the speed of sewage traveling through the line, causing excessive vibrations, and used a material that corrodes quickly. Josh Baugh,, "San Antonio Water System board approves Quintana Road sinkhole settlement; victims set to receive multimillion-dollar payout," 6 Aug. 2019 The building suffered from a severe lack of maintenance, with recent visitors mentioning termites corroding the structure, peeling walls, falling plaster and exposed wires. Diogo Costa And Leandro Narloch, WSJ, "Dereliction and Destruction," 5 Sep. 2018 Inspectors found that the steel connecting the stair stringers to the platforms is corroded and must be replaced, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced Monday. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Summer bummer: Lapeer water slide ordered closed for safety violation," 8 July 2019 Last year they were corroded by cost overruns at new steel plants in America and problems in the German car industry, its biggest customer. The Economist, "The European steel industry is being clobbered," 28 June 2019 Made from weather-resistant steel and covered with a cataphoretic coating process (which keeps it from corroding and oxidizing), this game table can definitely withstand a summer of barbecues and poolside gaming. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "This Outdoor Foosball Table Will Upgrade All Your Summer Barbecues," 23 May 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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Statistics for corrode

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for corrode

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

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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

Comments on corrode

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to speed up the process or progress of

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