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rot·​ten ˈrä-tᵊn How to pronounce rotten (audio)
: having rotted : putrid
: morally corrupt
: extremely unpleasant or inferior
a rotten day
a rotten job
: very uncomfortable
feeling rotten
: of very poor quality : lousy, abominable
a rotten show
what rotten luck
rottenly adverb
rottenness noun


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: to an extreme degree
spoiled rotten

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
If the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers was as tightly scripted as Usher’s elaborate choreography, the teams might have been pelted with rotten tomatoes or booed off the stage by halftime. Billy Witz, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Over and over, Aaron would play like God, and over and over, the rotten Green Bay Packers would let him down. Corbin Smith, Rolling Stone, 13 Jan. 2024 Everyone knows Oprah’s The Color Purple remake is rotten. Armond White, National Review, 12 Jan. 2024 Or Armstrong could take a sharp left turn and reanimate Roy’s rotten corpse. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 15 Jan. 2024 In 2014, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft discovered that the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — which is too far to actually travel to — had molecules rich in hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, which smell like rotten eggs and urine, respectively, per Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 11 Jan. 2024 The family’s staff had been tasked with feeding the animals, but often gave them nothing more than rotten meat. Kostiantyn Khudov, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2024 Even Colman Domingo, as the rotten Mister, is magnetic. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 16 Dec. 2023 High in sugar, carbs, and sodium, and often composed of expired or rotten ingredients, the makings of a prison meal are among the clearest examples of food apartheid in our nation. Florence O'Connor, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2023
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, 29 Aug. 2019 See More

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1880, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near rotten

Cite this Entry

“Rotten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: having rotted
: morally bad
: very unpleasant or worthless
did a rotten job
rottenly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on rotten

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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