Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of putrefy are decay, decompose, rot, and spoil. While all these words mean "to undergo destructive dissolution," putrefy implies the rotting of animal matter and offensiveness to sight and smell.

corpses putrefying on the battlefield

When might decay be a better fit than putrefy?

In some situations, the words decay and putrefy are roughly equivalent. However, decay implies a slow change from a state of soundness or perfection.

a decaying mansion

When would decompose be a good substitute for putrefy?

Although the words decompose and putrefy have much in common, decompose stresses a breaking down by chemical change and when applied to organic matter a corruption.

the strong odor of decomposing vegetation

How do rot and decompose relate to one another, in the sense of putrefy?

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

fruit was left to rot in warehouses

Where would spoil be a reasonable alternative to putrefy?

The meanings of spoil and putrefy largely overlap; however, spoil applies chiefly to the decomposition of foods.

keep the ham from spoiling

Thesaurus Entries Near putrefy

Cite this Entry

“Putrefy.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/putrefy. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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