putrefaction

noun

pu·​tre·​fac·​tion ˌpyü-trə-ˈfak-shən How to pronounce putrefaction (audio)
1
: the decomposition of organic matter
especially : the typically anaerobic splitting of proteins by bacteria and fungi with the formation of foul-smelling incompletely oxidized products
2
: the state of being putrefied : corruption
putrefactive adjective

Examples of putrefaction in a Sentence

clearing the refrigerator of what the previous tenant had left behind was like taking a course in the advanced putrefaction of leftovers
Recent Examples on the Web Not the smell of putrefaction, though the novel is littered with rotting corpses. Nathaniel Rich, The New York Review of Books, 30 Nov. 2023 Gut bacteria, especially a class of microbes called Clostridia, spread through your organs and digest you from the inside out in a process called putrefaction. Jennifer Debruyn, The Conversation, 28 Sep. 2023 Once the body is out of sight underground, embalmed tissues eventually melt into a toxic putrefaction. Joan Meiners, Discover Magazine, 6 Aug. 2020 At the second month, both forelegs and hindlegs were partly skeletonized, and the abdomen and back showed advanced putrefaction. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2015 At the third month, the samples showed areas of mummification at the abdomen within a general context of initial putrefaction. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2015 At the first month, initial putrefaction had started, and hindlegs were partly skeletonized. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2015 It’s autolysis and putrefaction that cause things like discoloration and other skin changes, as well as bloating. Alison Klesman, Discover Magazine, 29 Sep. 2021 Those oozing hills shift, belch, and mist their surroundings with the odor of putrefaction. Curbed, 12 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'putrefaction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English putrefaccion, from Late Latin putrefaction-, putrefactio, from Latin putrefacere

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of putrefaction was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near putrefaction

Cite this Entry

“Putrefaction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putrefaction. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

putrefaction

noun
pu·​tre·​fac·​tion ˌpyü-trə-ˈfak-shən How to pronounce putrefaction (audio)
1
: the rotting of organic matter
2
: the state of being putrefied : corruption

Medical Definition

putrefaction

noun
pu·​tre·​fac·​tion ˌpyü-trə-ˈfak-shən How to pronounce putrefaction (audio)
1
: the decomposition of organic matter
especially : the typically anaerobic splitting of proteins by bacteria and fungi with the formation of foul-smelling incompletely oxidized products
2
: the state of being putrefied

More from Merriam-Webster on putrefaction

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