Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[dee-kom-puh-zish-uh n] /ˌdi kɒm pəˈzɪʃ ən/
the act or process of decomposing.
the state of being decomposed; decay.
Origin of decomposition
1650-60; probably < French décomposition, derivative of décomposer to decompose; see composition Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for decomposition
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is some sericite present, also magnetite, resulting from the decomposition of the biotite.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • It is also somewhat stained by the decomposition of the magnetite.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • A mixture of common salt assists the decomposition of the pyrites.

  • Bears him a daughter, dies in 1863 from decomposition of the blood.

    A Zola Dictionary J. G. Patterson
  • This change or decomposition continues so long as the charging current is on.

    Electricity for Boys J. S. Zerbe
Word Origin and History for decomposition

1762, from de- + composition. An earlier word in the same form meant "further compounding of already composite things" (1650s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
decomposition in Medicine

decomposition de·com·po·si·tion (dē-kŏm'pə-zĭsh'ən)

  1. The act or result of decomposing; disintegration.

  2. Separation into constituents by chemical reaction.

  3. The breakdown or decay of organic materials; lysis.

de·com'po·si'tion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
decomposition in Science
  1. The separation of a substance into simpler substances or basic elements. Decomposition can be brought about by exposure to heat, light, or chemical or biological activity.

  2. The process of breaking down organic material, such as dead plant or animal tissue, into smaller molecules that are available for use by the organisms of an ecosystem. Decomposition is carried on by bacteria, fungi, protists, worms, and certain other organisms. See more at detritivore.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for decomposition

Word Value for decomposition

Scrabble Words With Friends