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

Definition of putrefy

Synonyms for putrefy


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for putrefy

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 Many recipes that survive from antiquity call for allowing fish to putrefy in open vats under the Mediterranean sun for up to three months. Taras Grescoe, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Oct. 2021 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, 28 Apr. 2020 But this, Marcus stresses, only causes our emotions to putrefy and fester. Barrett Swanson, Harper's magazine, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 2 Sep. 2017 See More

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.

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

Learn More About putrefy

Time Traveler for putrefy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near putrefy




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for putrefy

Cite this Entry

“Putrefy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putrefy. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for putrefy


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

Medical Definition of putrefy

More from Merriam-Webster on putrefy

Nglish: Translation of putrefy for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!