rot

verb
\ ˈrät How to pronounce rot (audio) \
rotted; rotting

Definition of rot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi
b : to become unsound or weak (as from use or chemical action)
2a : to go to ruin : deteriorate
b : to become morally corrupt : degenerate

transitive verb

: to cause to decompose or deteriorate with or as if with rot

rot

noun

Definition of rot (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the process of rotting : the state of being rotten : decay
b : something rotten or rotting
2a archaic : a wasting putrescent disease
b : any of several parasitic diseases especially of sheep marked by necrosis and wasting
c : plant disease marked by breakdown of tissues and caused especially by fungi or bacteria
3 : nonsense often used interjectionally

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for rot

Verb

decay, decompose, rot, putrefy, spoil mean to undergo destructive dissolution. decay implies a slow change from a state of soundness or perfection. a decaying mansion decompose stresses a breaking down by chemical change and when applied to organic matter a corruption. the strong odor of decomposing vegetation rot is a close synonym of decompose and often connotes foulness. fruit was left to rot in warehouses putrefy implies the rotting of animal matter and offensiveness to sight and smell. corpses putrefying on the battlefield spoil applies chiefly to the decomposition of foods. keep the ham from spoiling

Examples of rot in a Sentence

Verb

The wood had rotted away. The apples were left to rot. the smell of rotting garbage Eating too much candy can rot your teeth.

Noun

They found a lot of rot in the house's roof. That's a lot of rot!
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That the large pan below the cold coil (called the condensate pan) is not rotted and full of holes, and leaking water into the house. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The DIY Guide To Fixing Your Leaky Air Conditioner," 15 Mar. 2019 Movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and Margin Call flay the financial sector and suggest that money rots your soul. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Crazy Rich Asians’ crazy rich success could mean more stories about less crazy rich Asian-American people.," 21 Dec. 2018 Planes would be grounded, ports would be clogged, food would rot, and garbage would pile up, and those are just some of the possible scenarios. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The many unpredictable outcomes of Brexit, explained," 21 Nov. 2018 Below the pleasant chirping of woodland birds and the rush of the river lies rot; the game’s forest is in upheaval and blood is about to be shed. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "Root is a terrific—and fully asymmetric—woodland wargame," 29 Sep. 2018 While refrigeration can slow the decomposition of bodies, many of the corpses had been recovered from clandestine graves in the state and are already rotted. Fox News, "Mexico fires morgue director in corpse scandal," 18 Sep. 2018 The timber would have rotted away over time, but the soil would maintain its differences. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "Drought and Drone Reveal ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Signs of Ancient Henge in Ireland," 13 July 2018 To gain a little extra money, Heo began to make home-brew alcohol from rotting corn. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "A North Korean defector paid smugglers to get her family out. China sent them back.," 27 June 2018 With visitors tantalized about the scent advertised to be the equivalent of rotting flesh, Garden officials chose this time to place Alice outdoors, instead of in a greenhouse where previous titan arums have been displayed. Daniel I. Dorfman, chicagotribune.com, "Corpse flower makes repeat performance — this time outdoors — at Chicago Botanic Garden," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Choose a naturally rot-resistant wood such as cedar or locust, or use pine treated with a preservative. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Container Gardening," 13 Aug. 2018 Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and/or Muscadelle—with a beneficial rot called Botrytis cinerea. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "The Best Bargain in French Wines," 24 Aug. 2018 The rot set in after a damning inspection of children’s services in 2013, where failures have so far cost £60m to put right. The Economist, "Northamptonshire council has gone bust. Who is to blame?," 22 Mar. 2018 And pundits on the right and left rushed to demonstrate their own virtue by trashing high school students as somehow symptomatic of America’s cultural rot in the Age of Trump. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The High School Deplorables," 22 Jan. 2019 The British navy gobbled up the colonies’ longleaf for its rot-resistant wood and gummy sap, from which turpentine and pitch were made. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Thousands of Southerners Planted Trees for Retirement. It Didn’t Work.," 9 Oct. 2018 And then shell of a bomb: Dan and Blair kiss and all that is good and pure in the world shrivels up and rots. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 Beatrice Sanders is living in a FEMA trailer parked next to her home, which Harvey left uninhabitable with rot and mold. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "As Texas Recovers From Harvey, Port Arthur Struggles," 13 Aug. 2018 Another trick: Store garlic under an unglazed clay flower pot in a cupboard, creating a small humidor without cutting off air circulation, which can lead to rot. Jean Nick, Good Housekeeping, "7 Ways You Can Make Your Garlic Last Longer," 27 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of rot

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rot

Verb

Middle English roten, from Old English rotian; akin to Old High German rōzzēn to rot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rot

Dictionary Entries near rot

rosy finch

rosy gull

rosy periwinkle

rot

rota

Rota

rotacism

Statistics for rot

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rot

The first known use of rot was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rot

rot

verb

English Language Learners Definition of rot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to slowly decay or cause (something) to decay

rot

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rot (Entry 2 of 2)

: the process of rotting or the condition that results when something rots
informal + somewhat old-fashioned : foolish words or ideas

rot

verb
\ ˈrät How to pronounce rot (audio) \
rotted; rotting

Kids Definition of rot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to undergo decay
2 : to go to ruin He was left to rot in jail.

rot

noun

Kids Definition of rot (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the process of decaying : the state of being decayed
2 : something that has decayed or is decaying
\ ˈrät How to pronounce rot (audio) \
rotted; rotting

Medical Definition of rot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi

rot

noun

Medical Definition of rot (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the process of rotting : the state of being rotten
2 : any of several parasitic diseases especially of sheep marked by necrosis and wasting

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rot

Spanish Central: Translation of rot

Nglish: Translation of rot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rot for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rot

Comments on rot

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!