decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce decompose (audio) \
decomposed; decomposing; decomposes

Definition of decompose

transitive verb

1 : to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds decompose water by electrolysis decompose a word into its base and affixes
2 : rot

intransitive verb

: to break up into constituent parts by or as if by a chemical process : decay, rot fruit decomposes

Other Words from decompose

decomposability \ ˌdē-​kəm-​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce decompose (audio) \ noun
decomposable \ ˌdē-​kəm-​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce decompose (audio) \ adjective
decomposition \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌkäm-​pə-​ˈzi-​shən How to pronounce decompose (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for decompose

Synonyms

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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 decompose in a Sentence

Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter. the smell of decomposing leaves The compound will decompose in the presence of light.
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Recent Examples on the Web Choosing garnishes that can be reused or ones that will naturally decompose is a sustainable way to decorate your gifts. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 That was at least 13,500 years ago, a lot of time for evidence to decompose. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, 20 Dec. 2021 While running a funeral home, authorities alleged, Scheid allowed bodies to decompose, making at least one corpse ineligible for organ donations, and conducted cremations on dates other than those indicated on paperwork, the report said. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, 18 Dec. 2021 Some help decompose dead plants and animals and recycle nutrients. NBC News, 12 Dec. 2021 Granted, brains don't typically survive for long after death; brain tissue is typically the earliest thing to decompose in most contexts. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 2 Dec. 2021 What’s being called Distributive Doctors recently found students spending a few days learning how to decompose multiplication equations. John Benson, cleveland, 24 Nov. 2021 GoHenry, a debit card and financial education app designed for children ages 6-18, has announced the launch of its first fully biodegradable debit card made from plants that promises to decompose after use, not in your wallet. Bill Hardekopf, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 Preferably, simply move them as-is into another part of the yard to decompose, just not up against the house. Miri Talabac, baltimoresun.com, 22 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decompose.' 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 decompose

1718, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for decompose

French décomposer, from dé- de + composer to compose

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Time Traveler for decompose

Time Traveler

The first known use of decompose was in 1718

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Dictionary Entries Near decompose

decompensation

decompose

decomposer

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Statistics for decompose

Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decompose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decompose. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for decompose

decompose

verb

English Language Learners Definition of decompose

: to cause something (such as dead plants and the bodies of dead animals) to be slowly destroyed and broken down by natural processes, chemicals, etc.
: to cause something (such as a chemical) to be separated into smaller or simpler parts

decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce decompose (audio) \
decomposed; decomposing

Kids Definition of decompose

1 : to break down or be broken down into simpler parts or substances especially by the action of living things (as bacteria and fungi) Leaves decomposed on the forest floor.
2 : to separate a substance into simpler compounds Water can be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen.

decompose

verb
de·​com·​pose | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce decompose (audio) \
decomposed; decomposing

Medical Definition of decompose

transitive verb

: to separate into constituent parts or elements or into simpler compounds decompose water by electrolysis

intransitive verb

: to undergo chemical breakdown : decay, rot fruit decomposes

Other Words from decompose

decomposability \ -​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce decompose (audio) \ noun, plural decomposabilities
decomposable \ -​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce decompose (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on decompose

Nglish: Translation of decompose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decompose for Arabic Speakers

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