pu·​tre·​fy | \ ˈpyü-trə-ˌfī How to pronounce putrefy (audio) \
putrefied; putrefying

Definition of putrefy

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Synonyms for putrefy


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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 putrefy in a Sentence

we traced the bad smell to a dead skunk putrefying under the house
Recent Examples on the Web But some of the ailments Romans suffered boggle the mind—vicious fevers, wasting diseases and worms living in putrefying wounds that refused to heal. Edward Watts, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Rome Learned From the Deadly Antonine Plague of 165 A.D.," 28 Apr. 2020 But this, Marcus stresses, only causes our emotions to putrefy and fester. Barrett Swanson, Harper's magazine, "Men at Work," 28 Oct. 2019 The paintings of putrefying corpses and splayed-open cadavers made by Hyman Bloom between 1943 and 1954 constitute one of the most extraordinary and disturbingly beautiful bodies of work in American art. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "Artist Hyman Bloom’s body of work is revered. And the bodies are cadavers.," 31 July 2019 The injunction contends that long-distance travel does not broaden the mind, as commonly supposed, but putrefies the character by exposing it to impurity. Alex Perry, Outside Online, "The Last Days of John Allen Chau," 24 July 2019 Soutine’s table is brutally buckled, and the roiling white tablecloth, yellowish-green, suggests putrefying flesh and pitching sea, nearly capsizing a standing jug and pitcher. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Chaim Soutine: Flesh’ Review: Bloody, Brilliant Still Lifes," 2 May 2018 Sulfur atoms had started to bind with his hemoglobin, a process that would typically only occur in putrefying corpses. Sylvia Morrow, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Color," 6 Oct. 2017 Time, heat and water were Yaw’s enemies now, conspiring beneath the carpets to rot and putrefy. Jack Healy, New York Times, "For One Family in Houston, an Overwhelming Start to Recovery," 2 Sep. 2017 Dressed in a long cowl to fend off the stench of putrefying flesh, the 18th century teacher and anatomist scrapes clean the bones of the human corpse before her Leila Mcneill, Smithsonian, "The Lady Anatomist Who Brought Dead Bodies to Light," 26 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'putrefy.' 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 putrefy

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for putrefy

Middle English putrefien, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French putrefier, from Latin putrefacere, from putrēre to be rotten + facere to make — more at do

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The first known use of putrefy was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Putrefy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putrefy. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of putrefy

formal : to be slowly destroyed by natural processes : to rot and become putrid


pu·​tre·​fy | \ ˈpyü-trə-ˌfī How to pronounce putrefy (audio) \
putrefied; putrefying

Medical Definition of putrefy

More from Merriam-Webster on putrefy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for putrefy

Nglish: Translation of putrefy for Spanish Speakers

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