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

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 The lawsuit alleges that Edison failed to maintain clearances between its energized conductors and vegetation, including dead and rotten trees, as required by code. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Former employee sues SoCal Edison after losing his home in Bobcat fire," 5 Nov. 2020 Many of the accounts laid out in the AI Justice report — including noisy and crowded facilities, frigid temperatures, and frozen, rotten or otherwise inadequate meals — reflect common complaints by immigration advocates. Washington Post, "Unaccompanied migrant children suffer ‘inhumane and cruel experience’ in CBP custody, report alleges," 30 Oct. 2020 While Trump may not (yet) have openly extorted Exxon’s CEO, the government-corporate partnership is rotten to its core. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "ExxonMobil’s Real Quid Pro Quo With the Government," 21 Oct. 2020 Weathered or rotten straps and cables can snap, causing platforms to shift unexpectedly. Matt Williams, Dallas News, "Here’s a friendly reminder for bow hunters to be extra careful when using elevated stands," 9 Oct. 2020 The sun rose over the crowded tent camp across the river from Texas, and a thick heat baked the rotten debris below, a mixture of broken toys, human waste and uneaten food swarming with flies. Caitlin Dickerson New York Times, Star Tribune, "Refugees wait in a squalid camp across the Texas border, hoping to be granted asylum," 24 Oct. 2020 Some of it has had to do with a horrendous run of rotten injury luck, but on defense in particular the Cowboys have routinely lacked not only a clear plan but also an apparent clue. Mike Finger,, "Mike Finger: For Dallas Cowboys, misery is on the record," 22 Oct. 2020 For the spoilsport, this error 404 T-shirt is the perfect way to express your rotten attitude. Jolie Kerr, CNN Underscored, "21 adult Halloween costumes that will get you in the spirit," 20 Oct. 2020 Each participant also rated the pleasantness of each smells, and rotten fish was overwhelmingly the worst. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "If Rotten Fish Smell Like Roses to You, a Genetic Mutation Might Be to Blame," 9 Oct. 2020 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

12 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rotten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for rotten


How to pronounce rotten (audio)

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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