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

Synonyms for decompose

Synonyms

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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 By the time Hall's children were discovered, their bodies had already begun to decompose, the Baltimore Police Department said in a statement. Kyler Alvord, PEOPLE.com, 26 Aug. 2021 Excess nutrients flow into the Gulf of Mexico and stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which die and decompose. NBC News, 5 Aug. 2021 Excess nutrients flow into the Gulf of Mexico and stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which die and decompose. orlandosentinel.com, 5 Aug. 2021 Ron’s body had begun to decompose on their bed — a sight that still haunts Lisa. Kimberly C. Moore, The Ledger, Lakeland, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2021 All of this has led to a huge plastic pollution problem, especially considering some plastics can take several hundreds of years to decompose. Christopher Marquis, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Birds decompose on the expanding shore of the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, July 10, 2021, as extreme drought conditions recede the water line to an unprecedented level. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 Soft tissue, which makes visual identification and fingerprinting possible, can decompose, especially when exposed to the high heat and humidity of South Florida. NBC News, 12 July 2021 Earthworms decompose dead and organic matter and recycle nutrients into soil. Praveena Somasundaram, Dallas News, 29 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for decompose

Time Traveler

The first known use of decompose was in 1718

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Dictionary Entries Near decompose

decompensation

decompose

decomposer

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Statistics for decompose

Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decompose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decompose. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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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 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 decompose (audio) \ noun, plural decomposabilities
decomposable \ -​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce decompose (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on decompose

Nglish: Translation of decompose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decompose for Arabic Speakers

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