rot·​ten | \ ˈrä-tᵊn How to pronounce rotten (audio) \

Definition of rotten

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having rotted : putrid
2 : morally corrupt
3 : extremely unpleasant or inferior a rotten day a rotten job
4 : very uncomfortable feeling rotten
5 : of very poor quality : lousy, abominable a rotten show what rotten luck



Definition of rotten (Entry 2 of 2)

: to an extreme degree spoiled rotten

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Other Words from rotten


rottenly adverb
rottenness \ ˈrä-​tᵊn-​(n)əs How to pronounce rottenness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rotten

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of rotten in a Sentence

Adjective They did a rotten job. What rotten weather we're having. Adverb Those kids were spoiled rotten by their mother.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Something that sparked their research was a meta-analysis of 27 modern temperature studies where patients uniformly fell below the 98.6-degree mark, indicating that something was rotten in the state of basal body temperature. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Why Our Bodies Have Gotten Colder with Each Passing Decade," 9 Jan. 2020 After three hours, a guard emerged to announce that the depot’s supply was rotten so there would be none for sale that day. New York Times, "‘We’d Prefer the Food’: Zimbabwe Fears a Famine Is in Its Future," 25 Dec. 2019 This raft can be chunks of wet rotten wood, fresh cut live wood or anything in between. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "10 Survival Tips To Get You Through Winter," 30 Dec. 2019 As Stephen Miller explains in his 2006 book Conversation: A History of a Declining Art, dictators are rotten conversationalists. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "Why dictators make terrible conversationalists," 27 Dec. 2019 The 1997 Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence buddy action flick Nothing to Lose came, went and is perhaps remembered, if at all, as one of the more rotten of tomatoes in cinema history. Robbie Daw, Billboard, "Don't Call Them Angels: The 10 Best Songs by All-Women Supergroups," 14 Oct. 2019 Congratulations on great coverage of a rotten team over a terrible season. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies Mailbag: Colorado could lose both Arenado and Story at the same time," 4 Sep. 2019 The vet reportedly had to extract the two rotten teeth but expects Buddy to make a full recovery. Nick Givas, Fox News, "Florida vet removes stick from dog's mouth that was likely there for years, shelter says," 22 Dec. 2019 Orange still rotten: Syracuse lost to Georgetown Saturday, even though the Hoyas lost four players who are all transferring., "UMass has lost six straight, but the Minutemen are OK - The Boston Globe," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb If underlings are afraid to question authority or the board lack independent voices, a corporate culture can soon turn rotten. Chris Bryant | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Only a Flawed Genius Builds a Bugatti Veyron," 29 Aug. 2019

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rotten


Middle English roten, from Old Norse rotinn; akin to Old English rotian to rot

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Time Traveler for rotten

Time Traveler

The first known use of rotten was in the 13th century

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Statistics for rotten

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rotten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for rotten


How to pronounce rotten (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rotten

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having rotted or decayed and no longer able to be used, eaten, etc.
: very bad or unpleasant
: not well or healthy



English Language Learners Definition of rotten (Entry 2 of 2)

: very badly or poorly
: very much


rot·​ten | \ ˈrä-tᵊn How to pronounce rotten (audio) \

Kids Definition of rotten

1 : having rotted rotten wood
2 : morally bad
3 : of poor quality They did a rotten job.
4 : very unpleasant … being a teenager is pretty rotten—between pimples and worrying about how you smell!— Judy Blume, Are You There God?

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More from Merriam-Webster on rotten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rotten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rotten

Spanish Central: Translation of rotten

Nglish: Translation of rotten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rotten for Arabic Speakers

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