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[pyoo-tres-uh nt] /pyuˈtrɛs ənt/
becoming putrid; undergoing putrefaction.
of or relating to putrefaction.
Origin of putrescent
1725-35; < Latin putrēscent- (stem of putrēscēns), present participle of putrēscere to grow rotten
Related forms
putrescence, putrescency, noun
nonputrescence, noun
nonputrescent, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for putrescence
Historical Examples
  • It is essentially bottomless, cancerous; a putrescence through the constitution of the people is indicated by this galled place.

  • An ignis fatuus, perhaps; a Jack-o'-lanthorn begotten of putrescence.

    The Life of Cesare Borgia Raphael Sabatini
  • By the time he reached the next pool the putrescence which hung on the stale air was almost sickening.

    Hunters Out of Space Joseph Everidge Kelleam
  • The air was full of putrescence and the strong odour of foul mud.

    A Company of Tanks W. H. L. Watson
  • What the larva of antiquity ate was live flesh and not putrescence.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
  • The waysides were strewn with dead bodies in every state of putrescence.

  • He never soiled his pen in the putrescence of falsehood and incendiarism.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • You would not have me for fear of pain perish in putrescence.

  • Even Hegel said that wars invigorate humanity just as the storm preserves the sea from putrescence.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • Miss Van Tuyn was not going to allow herself to be influenced by the putrescence of Garstin's mind.

    December Love Robert Hichens
British Dictionary definitions for putrescence


becoming putrid; rotting
characterized by or undergoing putrefaction
Derived Forms
putrescence, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Latin putrescere to become rotten
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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Word Origin and History for putrescence

1640s, from Latin putrescentem (nominative putrescens), present participle of putrescere "grow rotten, moulder, decay," inchoative of putrere "be rotten" (see putrid).



1732, a back-formation from putrescence, or else from Latin putrescentem (nominative putrescens), present participle of putrescere "grow rotten, moulder, decay," inchoative of putrere "be rotten" (see putrid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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putrescence in Medicine

putrescence pu·tres·cence (pyōō-trěs'əns)

  1. A putrescent character or condition.

  2. Putrid matter.

putrescent pu·tres·cent (pyōō-trěs'ənt)

  1. Becoming putrid; putrefying.

  2. Of or relating to putrefaction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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