decay

decay [dē kā′, dikā′]
vi.
[ME decaien < Anglo-Fr & OFr decäir < VL * decadere: see DECADENCE]
1. to lose strength, soundness, health, beauty, prosperity, etc. gradually; waste away; deteriorate
2. to rot or decompose
3. to undergo radioactive disintegration spontaneously
vt.
to cause to decay
n.
1. a gradual decline; deterioration
2. a wasting away
3. a rotting or decomposing, as of vegetable matter
4.
a) rottenness
b) decayed or rotted matter
5.
a) the spontaneous disintegration of radioactive atoms with a resulting decrease in their number: see HALF-LIFE
b) the spontaneous disintegration of a particle or nucleus, as a meson, baryon, etc., as it changes into a more stable state: see RADIOACTIVE SERIES
SYN.- DECAY implies gradual, often natural, deterioration from a normal or sound condition [his teeth have begun to decay]; ROT refers to the decay of organic, esp. vegetable, matter, caused by bacteria, fungi, etc. [rotting apples ]; PUTREFY suggests the offensive, foul-smelling rotting of animal matter [bodies putrefying in the fields ]; SPOIL is the common informal word for the decay of foods [fish spoils quickly in summer ]; MOLDER suggest a slow, progressive, crumbling decay [old buildings molder away ]; DISINTEGRATE implies the breaking up of something into parts or fragments so that the wholeness of the original is destroyed [the disintegration of rocks ]; DECOMPOSE suggests the breaking up or separation of something into its component elements [a decomposing chemical compound ]: it is also a somewhat euphemistic substitute for ROT and PUTREFY

English World dictionary. . 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Decay — De*cay , n. 1. Gradual failure of health, strength, soundness, prosperity, or of any species of excellence or perfection; tendency toward dissolution or extinction; corruption; rottenness; decline; deterioration; as, the decay of the body; the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decay — vb Decay, decompose, rot, putrefy, spoil, disintegrate, crumble mean to undergo or, in some cases, to cause something to undergo destructive dissolution. Decay implies change, commonly a natural and gradual change, from a state of soundness or… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Decay — De*cay , v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Decayed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Decaying}.] [OF. decaeir, dechaer, decheoir, F. d[ e]choir, to decline, fall, become less; L. de + cadere to fall. See {Chance}.] To pass gradually from a sound, prosperous, or perfect… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Decay — De*cay , v. t. 1. To cause to decay; to impair. [R.] [1913 Webster] Infirmity, that decays the wise. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To destroy. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decay — [n] breaking down, collapse adulteration, atrophy, blight, caries, consumption, corrosion, crumbling, decadence, decline, decomposition, decrease, decrepitude, degeneracy, degeneration, depreciation, deterioration, dilapidation, disintegration,… …   New thesaurus

  • decay — I verb addle, atrophy, be reduced in worth, become enfeebled, become lower in quality, become putrescent, blight, break down, break up, canker, consume, corrode, corrupt, crumble, decline, decompose, decompound, degenerate, depreciate,… …   Law dictionary

  • decay — ► VERB 1) rot through the action of bacteria and fungi. 2) decline in quality or vigour. 3) Physics (of a radioactive substance, particle, etc.) undergo change to a different form by emitting radiation. ► NOUN 1) the state or process of decaying …   English terms dictionary

  • Decay — Contents 1 Science and technlogy 1.1 Biology 1.2 Physics 1.3 …   Wikipedia

  • decay — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun ADJECTIVE ▪ rapid ▪ slow ▪ dental (esp. BrE), tooth ▪ industrial (esp. BrE), urban …   Collocations dictionary

  • decay — 01. The [decaying] leaves in the garden are actually good for it and make the soil richer. 02. Tooth [decay] is preventable with proper oral hygiene. 03. The dentist said my tooth is so [decayed] that he may have to pull it. 04. The rise in… …   Grammatical examples in English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.