decompose

play
verb de·com·pose \ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz\

Definition of decompose

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds decompose water by electrolysis decompose a word into its base and affixes

  3. 2 :  rot

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to break up into constituent parts by or as if by a chemical process :  decay, rot fruit decomposes

decomposability

play \-ˌpō-zə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

decomposable

play \-ˈpō-zə-bəl\ adjective

decomposition

play \(ˌ)dē-ˌkäm-pə-ˈzi-shən\ noun

Examples of decompose in a Sentence

  1. Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter.

  2. the smell of decomposing leaves

  3. The compound will decompose in the presence of light.

Recent Examples of decompose from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decompose'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of decompose

French décomposer, from dé- de + composer to compose

Synonym Discussion of decompose

decay, decompose, rot, putrefy, spoil mean to undergo destructive dissolution. decay implies a slow change from a state of soundness or perfection. a decaying mansion decompose stresses a breaking down by chemical change and when applied to organic matter a corruption. the strong odor of decomposing vegetation rot is a close synonym of decompose and often connotes foulness. fruit was left to rot in warehouses putrefy implies the rotting of animal matter and offensiveness to sight and smell. corpses putrefying on the battlefield spoil applies chiefly to the decomposition of foods. keep the ham from spoiling

Other Microbiology Terms


DECOMPOSE Defined for English Language Learners

decompose

play
verb

Definition of decompose for English Language Learners

  • : to cause something (such as dead plants and the bodies of dead animals) to be slowly destroyed and broken down by natural processes, chemicals, etc.

  • : to cause something (such as a chemical) to be separated into smaller or simpler parts


DECOMPOSE Defined for Kids

decompose

play
verb de·com·pose \ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz\

Definition of decompose for Students

decomposed

;

decomposing

  1. 1 :  to break down or be broken down into simpler parts or substances especially by the action of living things (as bacteria and fungi) Leaves decomposed on the forest floor.

  2. 2 :  to separate a substance into simpler compounds Water can be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen.


Medical Dictionary

decompose

play
verb de·com·pose \ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz\

Medical Definition of decompose

decomposed

;

decomposing

  1. transitive verb

  2. :  to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds decompose water by electrolysis

  3. intransitive verb

  4. :  to undergo chemical breakdown :  decay, rot fruit decomposes

decomposability

\-ˌpō-zə-ˈbil-ət-ē\play noun plural

decomposabilities

decomposable

\-ˈpō-zə-bəl\play adjective


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up decompose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the weight of a container

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!