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 rotten (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 Like, a heap of dirty diapers on rotten eggs adorned with some radioactive waste kind of garbage. Marina Gomberg, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Marina Gomberg: The pandemic is the worst, but these reactions to it are total keepers," 26 Feb. 2021 Sunday wasn’t evidence of Cleveland’s core being rotten. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent collapse doesn’t mean rebuild is failing: Chris Fedor," 23 Feb. 2021 And whoever survives will be expected to rid City Hall of the graft and rotten odor. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, "PX column: Democrat and Republican women are winning elections. So why aren't any prominent female politicians running for Cincinnati mayor?," 19 Feb. 2021 For people whose intuition tells them that there’s something rotten at the top, Oliver said, the addition of a pedophile conspiracy may make an otherwise unsatisfying narrative simply too much to resist. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, "Why do conspiracy theories about pedophilia hold such sway with some conservatives?," 16 Oct. 2020 The youngest is spoiled rotten, an only child; another is distant and always plugged into his digital world; a younger brother yearns to play with the older kids. Star Tribune, "REVIEWS: 'The Vacation,' by T.M. Logan, and 'The Yellow Bird Sings,' by Jennifer Rosner," 18 Oct. 2020 Like a handsome stranger who smiles across the bar, Emerald Fennell’s feature directorial debut lures you in with gorgeous aesthetics and snappy song cues, concealing the rotten core within. Anne Cohen,, "6 Movies That Take You Deeper Into The Vicious World Of Promising Young Woman," 18 Jan. 2021 Officers found the home cold, with dirty clothing strewn about, rotten food and dog feces. cleveland, "Woman leaves 5-year-old in charge at home while getting her hair done: South Euclid Police Blotter," 15 Jan. 2021 The teen brats wind up participating, too, even though their vibes are decidedly rotten. Jessica Goldstein, Vulture, "Dickinson Recap: Spirits In the Night," 8 Jan. 2021 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

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rotten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for rotten



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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