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

addled, bad, corrupted, decayed, decomposed, putrefied, putrid, spoiled

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of rotten in a Sentence


They did a rotten job. What rotten weather we're having.


Those kids were spoiled rotten by their mother.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

He is seen as a potential savior to forlorn franchises in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, or whatever team is rotten enough to get that magic first slot. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Yikes, His Nikes! Zion Williamson’s Sneaker Disaster," 21 Feb. 2019 As rotten as these procedural shenanigans are, FERC is guilty of a more consequential deception. Robert Mcnamara And, WSJ, "Pipeline Builders Abuse Eminent Domain," 19 July 2018 The switch only highlighted the rotten state of local soccer, which has been plagued with corruption, chaos and unrelenting violence for years. Debora Rey, The Seattle Times, "Copa Libertadores final: A sign of Argentina’s decadence," 5 Dec. 2018 The first indication of the gas is usually a smell, similar to rotten eggs. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "A Poison-Detecting Watch for Gas and Oil Workers," 11 Nov. 2018 This is a rotten summer to become a restricted free agent because few teams will have the cap space to offer Gordon a massive contract. Josh Robbins,, "Magic Mailbag: Will Orlando re-sign Aaron Gordon?," 30 June 2018 Even if the players aren't deliberately conspiring to get managers sacked, there's obviously something rotten in the state of Leicester., "Why Riyad Mahrez May Have to Leave Leicester to Break the Foxes' Player Power Curse," 11 May 2018 As if that wasn’t warning enough to teach Allyson that something is rotten in Haddonfield, that guy is soon killed by Michael. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Halloween Is More Than a Horror Movie—It's a Tribute to Mothers and Daughters," 20 Oct. 2018 Some species of fireflies lay their eggs in rotten logs and other brush on the forest floor, and the larvae feast on the slugs, snails, and worms that this type of damp habitat attracts. Rebecca Straus, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways to Attract Fireflies to Your Yard," 19 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near rotten





rotten apple

rotten borough


Statistics for rotten

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rotten

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on rotten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rotten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rotten

Spanish Central: Translation of rotten

Nglish: Translation of rotten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rotten for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rotten

What made you want to look up rotten? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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