Word of the Day : December 5, 2010

corrode

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verb kuh-ROHD

Definition

1 : to eat away by degrees as if by gnawing; especially : to wear away gradually usually by chemical action

2 : to weaken or destroy gradually : undermine

3 : to undergo corrosion

Did You Know?

"Corrode" comes from Latin "corrodere" ("to gnaw to pieces"), a combination of the suffix "cor-" (used here as an intensifier with the meaning of "completely") and the verb "rodere" ("to gnaw"). At one time, "corrode" was used to literally indicate the action of gnawing away, as in "woodworms corroded the wood." But it is the more figurative senses from the action of gnawing or eating away that have persisted, as in "salt water corroded the iron" or "graphic content on television and the Internet is corroding the moral fabric of society."


Examples

Several sections of the pipe have corroded and will need to be replaced.

"Power, the old saying goes, corrupts. It corrodes principle and beguiles politicians into placing their interests above the voters." -- From an article by Steve Huntley in the Chicago Sun-Times, November 2, 2010



Quick Quiz

What word descends from "rodere" and refers to a mammal with incisors that are especially well suited for gnawing? The answer is ...


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