August 01, 2018
Learner's Word of the Day
decompose /ˌdiːkəmˈpoʊz/ verb

decomposes; decomposed; decomposing

The worms decompose the rotting plants.
The worms decompose the rotting plants.
Learner's definition of DECOMPOSE

1 : 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.

[+ object]

  • Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter.

  • partially decomposed bodies

[no object]

  • The wood on our deck is beginning to decompose. [=(less formally) rot]

  • the smell of decomposing leaves

Synonyms see: DECAY

2 technical : to cause something (such as a chemical) to be separated into smaller or simpler parts

[+ object]

  • decompose a chemical compound

[no object]

  • The compound will decompose in the presence of light.

— decomposition /diˌkɑːmpəˈzɪʃən/ noun [noncount]

  • The wood is already showing signs of decomposition.

  • the decomposition of organic matter

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