decay


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to decay: exponential decay

de·cay

 (dĭ-kā′)
v. de·cayed, de·cay·ing, de·cays
v.intr.
1. Biology To break down into component parts; rot.
2. Physics To disintegrate in a process of radioactive decay or particle decay.
3. Electronics To decrease gradually in magnitude. Used of voltage or current.
4. Aerospace To decrease in orbit. Used of an artificial satellite.
5. To fall into ruin: a civilization that had begun to decay.
6. To decline in health or vigor; waste away.
7. To decline from a state of normality, excellence, or prosperity; deteriorate.
v.tr.
To cause to decay.
n.
1.
a. The destruction or decomposition of organic matter as a result of bacterial or fungal action; rot.
b. Rotted matter.
2. Physics
3. Aerospace The decrease in orbital altitude of an artificial satellite as a result of conditions such as atmospheric drag.
4. A gradual deterioration to an inferior state: tooth decay; urban decay.
5. A falling into ruin.

[Middle English decayen, from Old French decair, from Vulgar Latin *dēcadere : Latin dē-, de- + Latin cadere, to fall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.]

de·cay′er n.
Synonyms: decay, rot, decompose, putrefy, spoil, molder, disintegrate
These verbs refer to the gradual process by which something breaks down or falls apart as a result of natural causes. Decay has wide application but often suggests partial deterioration short of complete destruction: "A decaying dam is an accident waiting to happen" (George Black).
Rot and decompose are closely synonymous with decay, but rot often emphasizes loss of structural integrity while decompose generally stresses breaking down into chemical components: The rotting timbers gave way under the added weight. When grass clippings decompose, they return nutrients to the soil.
Putrefy denotes an advanced stage of organic breakdown that is offensive to the senses: "Large numbers of cows and oxen ... were left to putrefy on mud flats after the floods receded, attracting rats" (John F. Burns).
Spoil usually refers to the process by which perishable substances become unfit for use or consumption: Fish will spoil quickly if not refrigerated.
To molder is to crumble to dust: The shawl had moldered away in the trunk.
Disintegrate refers to the reduction of something to particles, fragments, or constituent elements: The sandstone façade had disintegrated from exposure to wind and rain.

decay

(dɪˈkeɪ)
vb
1. to decline or cause to decline gradually in health, prosperity, excellence, etc; deteriorate; waste away
2. (Biology) to rot or cause to rot as a result of bacterial, fungal, or chemical action; decompose
3. (intr) physics
a. (of an atomic nucleus) to undergo radioactive disintegration
b. (of an elementary particle) to transform into two or more different elementary particles
4. (General Physics) (intr) physics (of a stored charge, magnetic flux, etc) to decrease gradually when the source of energy has been removed
n
5. the process of decline, as in health, mentality, beauty, etc
6. the state brought about by this process
7. (Botany) decomposition, as of vegetable matter
8. (Biology) rotten or decayed matter: the dentist drilled out the decay.
9. (Nuclear Physics) physics
b. a spontaneous transformation of an elementary particle into two or more different particles
c. (of an excited atom or molecule) the losing of energy by the spontaneous emission of photons
10. (General Physics) physics a gradual decrease of a stored charge, magnetic flux, current, etc, when the source of energy has been removed. See also time constant
11. (Music, other) music the fading away of a note
[C15: from Old Northern French decaïr, from Late Latin dēcadere, literally: to fall away, from Latin cadere to fall]
deˈcayable adj

de•cay

(dɪˈkeɪ)

v.i.
1. to become decomposed; rot.
2. to decline in health, prosperity, etc.; deteriorate.
3. (of an atomic nucleus) to undergo radioactive disintegration.
v.t.
4. to cause to decompose; rot.
n.
5. decomposition; rot.
6. a gradual and progressive decline.
7. the spontaneous radioactive transformation of a nucleus or particle into one or more different nuclei or particles.
8. progressive change in the path of an earth-orbiting satellite due to atmospheric drag.
[1425–75; < Old North French decair=de- de- + cair to fall « Latin cadere]
de•cay′a•ble, adj.
de•cayed•ness (dɪˈkeɪd nɪs, -ˈkeɪ ɪd-) n.
de•cay′less, adj.
syn: decay, decompose, disintegrate, rot imply a deterioration or falling away from a sound condition. decay implies either entire or partial deterioration by progressive natural changes: Teeth decay. decompose suggests the reducing of a substance to its component elements: Moisture makes some chemical compounds decompose. disintegrate emphasizes the breaking up, going to pieces, or wearing away of anything, so that its original wholeness is impaired: Rocks disintegrate. rot is applied esp. to decaying vegetable matter, which may or may not emit offensive odors: Potatoes rot.

de·cay

(dĭ-kā′)
Verb
1. Biology To break down into component parts through the action of bacteria or fungi; decompose.
2. Physics To undergo radioactive decay.
Noun
1. Biology The breaking down or rotting of organic matter through the action of bacteria or fungi; decomposition.
2. Physics Radioactive decay.

decay


Past participle: decayed
Gerund: decaying

Imperative
decay
decay
Present
I decay
you decay
he/she/it decays
we decay
you decay
they decay
Preterite
I decayed
you decayed
he/she/it decayed
we decayed
you decayed
they decayed
Present Continuous
I am decaying
you are decaying
he/she/it is decaying
we are decaying
you are decaying
they are decaying
Present Perfect
I have decayed
you have decayed
he/she/it has decayed
we have decayed
you have decayed
they have decayed
Past Continuous
I was decaying
you were decaying
he/she/it was decaying
we were decaying
you were decaying
they were decaying
Past Perfect
I had decayed
you had decayed
he/she/it had decayed
we had decayed
you had decayed
they had decayed
Future
I will decay
you will decay
he/she/it will decay
we will decay
you will decay
they will decay
Future Perfect
I will have decayed
you will have decayed
he/she/it will have decayed
we will have decayed
you will have decayed
they will have decayed
Future Continuous
I will be decaying
you will be decaying
he/she/it will be decaying
we will be decaying
you will be decaying
they will be decaying
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been decaying
you have been decaying
he/she/it has been decaying
we have been decaying
you have been decaying
they have been decaying
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been decaying
you will have been decaying
he/she/it will have been decaying
we will have been decaying
you will have been decaying
they will have been decaying
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been decaying
you had been decaying
he/she/it had been decaying
we had been decaying
you had been decaying
they had been decaying
Conditional
I would decay
you would decay
he/she/it would decay
we would decay
you would decay
they would decay
Past Conditional
I would have decayed
you would have decayed
he/she/it would have decayed
we would have decayed
you would have decayed
they would have decayed

decay

The breakdown of a radioactive substance, producing daughter (decay) products.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.decay - the process of gradually becoming inferior
caries, dental caries, tooth decay, cavity - soft decayed area in a tooth; progressive decay can lead to the death of a tooth
corruption - decay of matter (as by rot or oxidation)
rotting, putrefaction, rot, decomposition - (biology) the process of decay caused by bacterial or fungal action
dilapidation, ruin - the process of becoming dilapidated
natural action, natural process, action, activity - a process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings); "the action of natural forces"; "volcanic activity"
spoiling, spoilage - the process of becoming spoiled
2.decay - a gradual decrease; as of stored charge or current
decrease, decrement - a process of becoming smaller or shorter
exponential decay, exponential return - a decrease that follows an exponential function
3.decay - the organic phenomenon of rotting
organic phenomenon - (biology) a natural phenomenon involving living plants and animals
4.decay - an inferior state resulting from the process of decaying; "the corpse was in an advanced state of decay"; "the house had fallen into a serious state of decay and disrepair"
unsoundness - a condition of damage or decay
putrefaction, rot - a state of decay usually accompanied by an offensive odor
disintegration, decomposition - in a decomposed state
deterioration, impairment - a symptom of reduced quality or strength
rancidity - the state of being rancid; having a rancid scent or flavor (as of old cooking oil)
5.decay - the spontaneous disintegration of a radioactive substance along with the emission of ionizing radiation
alpha decay - radioactive decay of an atomic nucleus that is accompanied by the emission of an alpha particle
beta decay - radioactive decay of an atomic nucleus that is accompanied by the emission of a beta particle
nuclear reaction - (physics) a process that alters the energy or structure or composition of atomic nuclei
Verb1.decay - lose a stored charge, magnetic flux, or current; "the particles disintegrated during the nuclear fission process"
natural philosophy, physics - the science of matter and energy and their interactions; "his favorite subject was physics"
change integrity - change in physical make-up
disintegrate - cause to undergo fission or lose particles
2.decay - fall into decay or ruin; "The unoccupied house started to decay"
change - undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature; "She changed completely as she grew older"; "The weather changed last night"
deteriorate - become worse or disintegrate; "His mind deteriorated"
rust, corrode - become destroyed by water, air, or a corrosive such as an acid; "The metal corroded"; "The pipes rusted"
weather - change under the action or influence of the weather; "A weathered old hut"
eat at, erode, gnaw at, gnaw, wear away - become ground down or deteriorate; "Her confidence eroded"
wilt, droop - become limp; "The flowers wilted"
ruin - fall into ruin
fall apart, wear out, bust, wear, break - go to pieces; "The lawn mower finally broke"; "The gears wore out"; "The old chair finally fell apart completely"
3.decay - undergo decay or decomposition; "The body started to decay and needed to be cremated"
change - undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature; "She changed completely as she grew older"; "The weather changed last night"
molder, moulder, rot, decompose - break down; "The bodies decomposed in the heat"
go bad, spoil - become unfit for consumption or use; "the meat must be eaten before it spoils"
putrefy - become putrid; decay with an offensive smell; "organic matter putrefies"
deliquesce - melt away in the process of decay; "The fungi eventually deliquesced"

decay

verb
1. rot, break down, disintegrate, spoil, crumble, deteriorate, perish, degenerate, fester, decompose, mortify, moulder, go bad, putrefy The bodies buried in the fine ash slowly decayed.
2. decline, sink, break down, diminish, dissolve, crumble, deteriorate, fall off, dwindle, lessen, wane, disintegrate, degenerate The work ethic in this country has decayed over the past 30 years.
decline increase, grow, flower, expand, flourish

decay

verb
To become or cause to become rotten or unsound:
noun
Translations
نَخْر، تَسَوُّسيَتَعَفَّنُيَنْخُر، يَتَسَوَّس
rozkladrozkládat sechátráníhnilobahnít
forfaldeforrådnelserådne
mädäntyä
raspadati se
szuvasodásszuvasodik
rotna, skemmastrotnun, skemmd
衰える
썩다
pūtipuvimas
pūšanapūtsairšanasairttooth decay
hnitiekazenie
gnitignitje
förfall
เน่าเปื่อย
sâu, mục

decay

[dɪˈkeɪ]
A. N
1. [of vegetation, food] → putrefacción f, descomposición f; [of teeth] → caries f; [of building] → desmoronamiento m, ruina f
2. (fig) [of civilization] → decadencia f; [of faculties] → deterioro m
B. VI
1. (= rot) [leaves, food] → pudrirse, descomponerse; [teeth] → cariarse; [building] → desmoronarse
2. (fig) [civilization] → decaer, estar en decadencia; [faculties] → deteriorarse
C. VT [+ vegetation, food] → pudrir, descomponer; [+ teeth] → cariar

decay

[dɪˈkeɪ]
n
(= rotting) [leaves, bodies] → décomposition f, pourrissement m
(= deterioration) [institutions, society, system] → déclin m; [house, area] → délabrement m
(= tooth decay) → carie f (dentaire)
vi
(= rot) [leaves] → se décomposer; [body] → se décomposer
[teeth] → se carier
(= deteriorate) [house] → se délabrer; [area] → décliner, se délabrer; [society, system, institution] → être en déclin
a decaying mansion → un manoir qui se délabre
decaying urban and rural areas → les quartiers délabrés dans les villes et dans les campagnes
The system has decayed and will soon collapse → Le système est en déclin et va bientôt s'effondrer.

decay

vi
(lit)verfallen; (Phys) → zerfallen; (= rot, dead body, flesh, vegetable matter) → verwesen; (food)schlecht werden, verderben; (tooth)faulen, verfallen; (bones, wood)verfallen, morsch werden
(fig)verfallen; (health also)sich verschlechtern; (beauty also)verblühen, vergehen; (civilization, race)untergehen; (friendship)auseinandergehen, zerfallen; (one’s faculties)verkümmern; (business, family)herunterkommen
n
(lit: = action) → Verfall m; (Phys) → Zerfall m; (= rotting, of dead body, flesh, vegetable matter) → Verwesung f; (of food)Schlechtwerden nt; (of bones, wood)Morschwerden nt; tooth decayZahnfäule f, → Karies f; to fall into decayin Verfall geraten, verfallen
(= decayed part or area)Fäule f, → Fäulnis f
(fig)Verfall m; (of friendship, civilization)Zerfall m; (of race, family, business)Untergang m; (of faculties)Verkümmern nt

decay

[dɪˈkeɪ]
1. vi (teeth) → cariarsi; (vegetation, flesh) → decomporsi (Phys) (radioactive nucleus) → disintegrarsi; (building, urban area) → andare in rovina (fig) (civilization) → decadere; (one's faculties) → deteriorarsi
2. n (of teeth) → carie f; (of vegetation, body) → decomposizione f; (of radioactivity) → disintegrazione f; (of building, urban area) → stato di abbandono, decadimento; (of civilization) → rovina; (of faculties) → deterioramento
urban decay → degrado urbano

decay

(diˈkei) verb
to (cause to) become rotten or ruined. Sugar makes your teeth decay.
noun
the act or process of decaying. tooth decay; in a state of decay.

decay

يَتَعَفَّنُ rozklad forfalde verfallen αποσυντίθεμαι deteriorarse mädäntyä se décomposer raspadati se decomporsi 衰える 썩다 vervallen forfalle stracić siły decair разлагаться förfall เน่าเปื่อย çürümek sâu, mục 腐烂

de·cay

n. deteriorización, deterioro, descomposición gradual; [teeth] caries;
dental ___carie dental, pop. dientes picados;
___ rateíndice de descomposición gradual;
v. deteriorar, descomponer, decaer, declinar; deteriorarse, descomponerse, [teeth] cariarse; [wood] carcomerse; [matter] podrirse, pudrirse.

decay

n (dent) caries f
References in classic literature ?
The expanded chest, full formed limbs, and grave countenance of this warrior, would denote that he had reached the vigor of his days, though no symptoms of decay appeared to have yet weakened his manhood.
The tradition was, that a certain Alice Pyncheon had flung up the seeds, in sport, and that the dust of the street and the decay of the roof gradually formed a kind of soil for them, out of which they grew, when Alice had long been in her grave.
Weight, solidity, firmness -- this was the expression of his repose, even in such decay as had crept untimely over him at the period of which I speak.
The schoolhouse being deserted soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue and the plough-boy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.
The place had that ragged, forlorn appearance, which is always produced by the evidence that the care of the former owner has been left to go to utter decay.
All other literatures endure only as the elms which overshadow our houses; but this is like the great dragon-tree of the Western Isles, as old as mankind, and, whether that does or not, will endure as long; for the decay of other literatures makes the soil in which it thrives.
That he may be the only one who thinks he sees this decay, does not ex- cuse him; it is his duty to agitate anyway, and it is the duty of the others to vote him down if they do not see the matter as he does.
Everywhere in the town were the mold and decay that go with antiquity, and evidence of it; but I do not know that anything else gave us so vivid a sense of the old age of Heilbronn as those footworn grooves in the paving-stones.
No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any branch become motionless although we can observe you no longer
When full of flowers they would doubtless look pretty; but now, at the latter end of January, all was wintry blight and brown decay.
Then, the paleness of her face - its haggard aspect having vanished as she recovered flesh - and the peculiar expression arising from her mental state, though painfully suggestive of their causes, added to the touching interest which she awakened; and - invariably to me, I know, and to any person who saw her, I should think - refuted more tangible proofs of convalescence, and stamped her as one doomed to decay.
As soon as the old gentleman's anxieties were set at rest the rooms were shut up again, and "Freeze-your-Bones" was once more abandoned for weeks and weeks together to damp, desolation, and decay .