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.
Recent Examples on the Web The newspaper will naturally decompose in the ground in a few weeks. Noma Nazish, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 Mike Feuer announced on Friday criminal charges against a former Sun Valley funeral home owner Friday for improperly handling 11 bodies, which were left to decompose. Hyeyoon Alyssa Choi, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Some of them do not always break down and decompose quickly. Chris Mckeown, The Enquirer, 26 Mar. 2022 The other option is to just leave the roots to slowly decompose and plant transplants. oregonlive, 6 Mar. 2022 Even if the middle of the lichen begins to break down and decompose, the outer edge will keep spreading out like a ring. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 15 Feb. 2022 Asbestos used in construction is another urban hazard, and can linger for years because the mineral doesn’t decompose or wash away in rains. Nidhi Subbaraman, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2022 Several days later, with Vladimir’s body starting to decompose, Gerasimenko called some neighbors to help bury him in the yard. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2022 On its own, however, vegetable oil takes 28 days to decompose, says Lady. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decompose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decompose. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for decompose

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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