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

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 Today, sulfur is commonly referred to as the scent of rotten eggs. Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 The family spoiled him rotten over the weekend, with bacon for breakfast and grilled chicken for dinner. Michelle Matthews |, al, 9 Nov. 2021 Joe says: To give an idea of just how huge of a rotten dragon’s egg UAB laid in its loss to Rice, consider that UTSA destroyed Rice 45-0. Joseph Goodman |, al, 18 Nov. 2021 How is rotten parsley like Radovan Karadzic at his family farm? Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Measurements of hydrogen sulfide, known for its rotten egg stench, at one point reached 7,000 parts per billion — far more than the recent high of 250 parts per billion at the infamously smelly Salton Sea, Ian James and Andrew J. Campa report. Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 2021 The film portrayed that catastrophe as both a product of its times—the dreams of the ’90s gone rotten—and an example of industry figures skimping on safety for a profit. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 10 Nov. 2021 At the time of harvest, Jones explains, the plants’ outer leaves look rotten and slimy. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 1 Nov. 2021 Its shores feature piles of rotten, dead fish that release an eye-watering stench. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Oct. 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, 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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Dictionary Entries Near rotten



rotten apple

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Statistics for rotten

Last Updated

7 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rotten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 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? It's Me, Margaret.

More from Merriam-Webster on rotten

Nglish: Translation of rotten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rotten for Arabic Speakers


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