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[ad-uh-poh-seer] /ˈæd ə poʊˌsɪər/
a waxy substance produced by the decomposition of dead animal bodies in moist burial places or under water.
Origin of adipocere
1795-1805; < French adipocire, equivalent to adipo- adipo- + cire wax < Latin cēra; English e by association with cēra; cf. cere2
Related forms
[ad-uh-pos-er-uh s] /ˌæd əˈpɒs ər əs/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for adipocere
Historical Examples
  • The brain was considerable in quantity, but changed to a state of adipocere resembling ointment of a dark brown hue.

    Norfolk Annals Charles Mackie
  • "Then you'll be buried in Kensal Green and turn into adipocere with the others," said Torpenhow.

  • The autopsy on the exhumed body of Perrotte Mace was inconclusive, owing to the condition of adipocere.

    She Stands Accused Victor MacClure
  • There was not a trace of adipocere—the peculiar waxy soap that forms in bodies that decay in water or in a damp situation.

    The Vanishing Man

    R. Austin Freeman
  • He is the first to observe and describe that curious product of the decomposition of flesh known to modern chemists as adipocere.

British Dictionary definitions for adipocere


/ˌædɪpəʊˈsɪə; ˈædɪpəʊˌsɪə/
a waxlike fatty substance formed during the decomposition of corpses Nontechnical name grave-wax
Derived Forms
adipocerous (ˌædɪˈpɒsərəs) adjective
Word Origin
C19: via French from New Latin adiposus fat (see adipose) + French cire wax
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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adipocere in Medicine

adipocere ad·i·po·cere (ād'ə-pō-sēr')
A brown, fatty, waxlike substance that forms on dead animal tissue in response to moisture. Also called lipocere.

ad'i·po·cer'a·tous (-sěr'ə-təs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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