decay[dē kā′, di-]
An apple in an advanced state of decay.
- Decay is defined as rotted matter or the state of rotting, deteriorating or declining.
An example of decay is what has happened to an old abandoned building.
- To decay is defined as to rot, lose strength or deteriorate.
- An example of decay is when old fruit begins to rot.
- An example of decay is when a neighborhood starts to become crime-ridden.
- to lose strength, soundness, health, beauty, prosperity, etc. gradually; waste away; deteriorate
- to rot or decompose
- to undergo radioactive disintegration spontaneously
Origin of decayMiddle English decaien ; from Anglo-French and amp; Old French decäir ; from Vulgar Latin an unverified form decadere: see decadence
- a gradual decline; deterioration
- a wasting away
- a rotting or decomposing, as of vegetable matter
- decayed or rotted matter
- the spontaneous disintegration of radioactive atoms with a resulting decrease in their number
- the spontaneous disintegration of a particle or nucleus, as a meson, baryon, etc., as it changes into a more stable state
verbde·cayed, de·cay·ing, de·cays
- Biology To break down into component parts; rot.
- Physics To disintegrate in a process of radioactive decay or particle decay.
- Electronics To decrease gradually in magnitude. Used of voltage or current.
- Aerospace To decrease in orbit. Used of an artificial satellite.
- To fall into ruin: a civilization that had begun to decay.
- To decline in health or vigor; waste away.
- To decline from a state of normality, excellence, or prosperity; deteriorate.
- a. The destruction or decomposition of organic matter as a result of bacterial or fungal action; rot.b. Rotted matter.
- Physics a. See radioactive decay.b. See particle decay.
- Aerospace The decrease in orbital altitude of an artificial satellite as a result of conditions such as atmospheric drag.
- A gradual deterioration to an inferior state: tooth decay; urban decay.
- A falling into ruin.
Origin of decayMiddle English decayen, from Old French decair, from Vulgar Latin *dēcadere : Latin dē-, de- + Latin cadere, to fall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural decays)
(third-person singular simple present decays, present participle decaying, simple past and past participle decayed)
- (intransitive) To deteriorate, to get worse, to lose strength or health, to decline in quality.
- The pair loved to take pictures in the decaying hospital on forty-third street.
- (intransitive, electronics, of storage media or the data on them) To undergo bit rot, that is, gradual degradation.
- (intransitive, physics, of a satellite's orbit) To undergo prolonged reduction in altitude (above the orbitted body).
- 2009, Francis Lyall, Paul B. Larsen, Space Law: A Treatise, page 120:
- (intransitive, of organic material) To rot, to go bad.
- The cat's body decayed rapidly.
- (intransitive, physics, chemistry, of an unstable atom) To change by undergoing fission, by emitting radiation, or by capturing or losing one or more electrons.
- (intransitive, physics, of a quantum system) To undergo optical decay, that is, to relax to a less excited state, usually by emitting a photon or phonon.
- To cause to rot or deteriorate.
- The extreme humidity decayed the wooden sculptures in the museum's collection in a matter of years.
decay - Computer Definition
The reduction of strength of a signal or charge.