decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce decompose (audio) \
decomposed; decomposing; decomposes

Definition of decompose

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to break up into constituent parts by or as if by a chemical process : decay, rot fruit decomposes

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Other Words from decompose

decomposability \ ˌdē-​kəm-​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce decomposability (audio) \ noun
decomposable \ ˌdē-​kəm-​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce decomposable (audio) \ adjective
decomposition \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌkäm-​pə-​ˈzi-​shən How to pronounce decomposition (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for decompose

Synonyms

break down, corrupt, decay, disintegrate, fester, foul, mold, molder, perish [chiefly British], putrefy, rot, spoil

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of decompose in a Sentence

Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter. the smell of decomposing leaves The compound will decompose in the presence of light.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Her body was decomposed after being out in the elements for what appears to be several years and she was identified through dental records, said Utah County Sheriff James Tracy. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Skeletal remains found in Utah canyon ID'd as long-missing woman Elizabeth Salgado," 28 May 2018 The Best Mulch to Use Organic mulch means any type of natural substance that decomposes over time such as bark, wood chips, or pine needles. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How Much Mulch Do I Need? Here's the Easiest Way to Find Out," 6 Feb. 2019 And the water contained a chemical that would slowly decompose into gases, disturbing the surface of the oil and making for a rough polymer shell. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using a virus to kill what antibiotics can’t," 18 July 2018 Orca that carried dead, decomposing calf for weeks now returns to fun with friends. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Clues in stolen plane mystery; Omarosa's secret White House recording sparks security concerns," 13 Aug. 2018 Because of this small amount of plastic, the cup can take up to 20 years to fully decompose. Spoon U, Teen Vogue, "How Starbucks Can Make a Bigger Difference Than Going Strawless," 20 July 2018 There, officers first found a horse that was mostly decomposed, with very minimal skin remaining on its skull. Indianapolis Star, "Bloomington man charged after two horses are found dead and third ‘severely emaciated’," 18 June 2018 Read More Teens killed deer and clustered their decomposing carcasses. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Bear circled and swatted his beagle. Owner punched the bear in the nose, Michigan cops say," 29 May 2018 Her body was decomposed after being out in the elements for what appears to be several years and she was identified through dental records, said Utah County Sheriff James Tracy. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Skeletal remains found in Utah canyon ID'd as long-missing woman Elizabeth Salgado," 28 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of decompose

1718, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for decompose

French décomposer, from dé- de + composer to compose

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Statistics for decompose

Last Updated

25 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decompose

The first known use of decompose was in 1718

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More Definitions for decompose

decompose

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decompose

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

decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce decompose (audio) \
decomposed; decomposing

Kids Definition of decompose

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

decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce decompose (audio) \
decomposed; decomposing

Medical Definition of decompose

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to undergo chemical breakdown : decay, rot fruit decomposes

Other Words from decompose

decomposability \ -​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce decomposability (audio) \ noun, plural decomposabilities
decomposable \ -​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce decomposable (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on decompose

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