Synonyms & Antonyms of decompose

(Entry 1 of 2)

to go through decomposition
  • detectives needed to know how long it would take a corpse to decompose to that advanced state

Synonyms for decompose

Words Related to decompose

Phrases Synonymous with decompose

Near Antonyms for decompose



Synonyms & Antonyms of decomposition (Entry 2 of 2)

the process by which dead organic matter separates into simpler substances
  • the unmistakable smell of decomposition led us to some fruit that had fallen behind the refrigerator

Synonyms for decomposition

Words Related to decomposition

Near Antonyms for decomposition

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About decompose

How is the word decompose different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of decompose are decay, putrefy, rot, and spoil. While all these words mean "to undergo destructive dissolution," decompose stresses a breaking down by chemical change and when applied to organic matter a corruption.

the strong odor of decomposing vegetation

Where would decay be a reasonable alternative to decompose?

The words decay and decompose are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, decay implies a slow change from a state of soundness or perfection.

a decaying mansion

In what contexts can putrefy take the place of decompose?

In some situations, the words putrefy and decompose are roughly equivalent. However, putrefy implies the rotting of animal matter and offensiveness to sight and smell.

corpses putrefying on the battlefield

How do rot and decompose relate to one another?

Rot is a close synonym of decompose and often connotes foulness.

fruit was left to rot in warehouses

When is spoil a more appropriate choice than decompose?

The synonyms spoil and decompose are sometimes interchangeable, but spoil applies chiefly to the decomposition of foods.

keep the ham from spoiling

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about decompose

Time Traveler for decompose

Time Traveler

The first known use of decompose was in 1718

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Decompose.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on decompose

Dictionary: Definition of decompose

Medical Dictionary: Definition of decompose

Nglish: Translation of decompose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decompose for Arabic Speakers

Comments on decompose

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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