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

The rotten floor was ripped up and carted away, replaced by a layer of Roxul insulation (the vermin don’t like it, nor does moisture) and this sweet tongue-in-groove pine floor from a local (well, two hours away) mill. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How To Live Off the Grid," 10 June 2019 Hatred that was wrapped in rotten chocolate and buried resentments with a taste as bitter as gall and poisoned daggers in the back at the moment of embrace. Jonathan Wright, Harper's magazine, "The Tortoise and the Hedgehog," 10 June 2019 On Wednesday, Montes and another inspector escorted Loza back to Santa Cruz from Mexico City, where Loza had been incarcerated in squalid conditions — often being fed rotten bread — since October. Michael Todd, The Mercury News, "16 years later, suspected Soquel killer returned to Santa Cruz," 8 June 2019 Wilmington is famously pitcher friendly (though not so pitcher friendly to explain the rotten numbers of Seuly Matias, MJ Melendez and Nick Pratto) so the jump to Double-A is about more than just competition. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Bobby Witt Jr., Ned Yost, Patrick Mahomes and dad’n," 4 June 2019 The foul smell of rotten eggs as well as the accumulation of seaweed in the water and on the beach has caused us to leave early. Dan Sweeney,, "South Floridians are sick of smelly seaweed; cities say they’re doing what they can," 3 June 2019 The locked room was located off a hallway that smelled like rotten cheese (government food-safety tests were under way nearby). National Geographic, "A rare antelope is being killed to make $20,000 scarves," 24 Apr. 2019 Most compelling of all is the book’s portrait of a decadent Manhattan that shimmers with glamour, but has something rotten at its core. Constance Grady, Vox, "The 16 best books I read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 The unemployment rate may be under 4%, but parts of our economy are still rotten. Edward Glaeser, WSJ, "‘Jump-Starting America’ Review: Investing in the Brain," 8 May 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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Dictionary Entries near rotten





rotten apple

rotten borough


Statistics for rotten

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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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

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