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

The walkway path — once made of decomposed granite but starting to deteriorate — is now made of black concrete. Karl Mondon, The Mercury News, "Salesforce Transit Center partially reopens after nine-month closure," 1 July 2019 So two years ago, researchers started developing a pellet made of soy and wheat gluten that sinks to the bottom, nestles next to the eggs, and works just like decomposing fish. National Geographic, "Want to kill invasive trout? Smother them with their dead.," 21 June 2019 The body was at the bottom of a power pole and badly decomposed, Wade said. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Skull found in yard belongs to man electrocuted while stealing electricity, sheriff says," 21 June 2019 The chief issue at the Waggaman landfill, according to Chris Carlson with Carlson Environmental Consultants, is water, which clogs about half of the 240 wells used to capture fumes from the decomposing garbage. Greg Larose, nola.com, "Jefferson landfill odor fix could take several months, cost millions," 20 June 2019 If an animal was only partially buried and subsequently frozen, for example, the rest of its body could have decomposed or been eaten by scavengers. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "A Perfectly Preserved 32,000-Year-Old Wolf Head Was Found in Siberian Permafrost," 15 June 2019 Compounding the problem is that hemoglobin, when unprotected in blood plasma, decomposes into its component globin subunits. Quanta Magazine, "Icefish Study Adds Another Color to the Story of Blood," 22 Apr. 2019 In two to four weeks the straw starts to decompose. Bonnie Blodgett, Twin Cities, "Blundering Gardener: Highland Park gardener invites us into her own Shangri-la," 15 June 2019 This system can be decomposed into two simpler systems. Quanta Magazine, "Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and Randomness," 27 Mar. 2019

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

6 Jul 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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