decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz \
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 \ -​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
decomposable \ -​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl \ adjective
decomposition \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌkäm-​pə-​ˈzi-​shən \ 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

Beneath those points, responsibility decomposes again, to the small-microgrid level. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 But the upsides include its incredibly low price and its biodegradability, which could come in hand for robot designs that are intended to decompose after use. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Future Is Robots Powered By Popcorn," 11 July 2018 Non-profit environmental group For A Strawless Ocean advocated for the use of Aardvark biodegradable straws, which are said to decompose in 45-90 days. Gina Martinez, Time, "Starbucks Is Ditching Plastic Straws. Here Are 3 of the Most Common Alternatives," 9 July 2018 Many of the dead were left to decompose on rooftops and streets, drawing sharp criticism of the government's response. Shelby Fleig, USA TODAY, "The 5 deadliest hurricanes in American history now include Hurricane Maria — with new death toll," 29 May 2018 Once her designs are worn out, the garments are meant to be buried in the ground to decompose. Rosemary Feitelberg | Wwd, latimes.com, "Mushroom-made fashion authority Aniela Hoitink talks global change-sparked innovation," 29 May 2018 Without it, those too can take as long as regular plastic to decompose. Straws and shopping bags are relatively easy to convert to eco-friendly options. Pat Lenhoff, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Environmental concerns should be on our minds all year," 19 Apr. 2018 In addition to the rodents in the fridge, pigeons roosted, died and decomposed in the shelter’s attic. Amelia Templeton, The Seattle Times, "Issues plague Portland’s largest shelter for homeless kids," 25 Feb. 2018 He was reported missing by his fiancee, and his body was found decomposing on the water’s edge days later. Jeff Weiner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Teens who mocked, recorded drowning man in Cocoa won't face charges," 22 June 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

21 Dec 2018

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.

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

decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz \
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 \
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 \ noun, plural -ties
decomposable \ -​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl \ adjective

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Comments on decompose

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