Decay Definition

decayed, decaying, decays
decayed, decaying, decays
To rot or decompose.
Webster's New World
To undergo radioactive disintegration spontaneously.
Webster's New World
To decrease gradually in magnitude. Used of voltage or current.
American Heritage Medicine
To lose strength, soundness, health, beauty, prosperity, etc. gradually; waste away; deteriorate.
Webster's New World
To decrease in orbit. Used of an artificial satellite.
American Heritage
The decrease in orbital altitude of an artificial satellite as a result of conditions such as atmospheric drag.
American Heritage
A gradual decline; deterioration.
Webster's New World
A wasting away.
Webster's New World
A falling into ruin.
American Heritage
A rotting or decomposing, as of vegetable matter.
Webster's New World

Origin of Decay

  • From Old French decair (“to fall away, decay, decline”), from Medieval Latin *decadere, restored form of Latin decidere (“to fall away, fail, sink, perish”), from de (“down”) + cadere (“to fall”); compare decadent and decadence.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English decayen from Old French decair from Vulgar Latin dēcadere Latin dē- de- Latin cadere to fall kad- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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