- decomposing or decaying; putrid; tainted, foul, or bad-smelling.
- corrupt or morally offensive.
- wretchedly bad, unpleasant, or unsatisfactory; miserable: a rotten piece of work; a rotten day at the office.
- contemptible; despicable: a rotten little liar; a rotten trick.
- (of soil, rocks, etc.) soft, yielding, or friable as the result of decomposition.
- Australian Slang. drunk.
Origin of rotten
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for rotten
It has grown from a rotten root—striving to replace human judgment with detailed dictates.Red Tape Is Strangling Good Samaritans
Philip K. Howard
December 27, 2014
Which to me, after the initial explosion of the Sex Pistols, always made Rotten kind of boring.The Rancid Ballad of Johnny Rotten: His Memoir Seethes With Anger—And Charm
November 20, 2014
Yeonmi had been hospitalized at the time for a stomach illness, likely from her diet of rotten potatoes.How ‘Titanic ’Helped This Brave Young Woman Escape North Korea’s Totalitarian State
October 31, 2014
Fittingly to that point, its Rotten Tomato score (as of Tuesday evening) was a flat 50 percent.‘Selfie’ Is Both a Brilliant and Terrible TV Show
September 30, 2014
They know this is a rotten deal and they are demoralized, running faster and faster with no hope of catching up.Why Your Doctor Feels Like a 'Beaten Dog'
September 11, 2014
Even the best of them were rotten to the core, and but mere adventurers.Ridgeway
There ain't a rotten knot in it from butt to finish, and mighty few of any other kind.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
She was of about two hundred tons burthen, but must have-been old and rotten.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
It sheared off heads so many, that it, and the ground it most polluted, were a rotten red.A Tale of Two Cities
But he took me to his own house for a glass of sherry and a biscuit, and there it wasn't so rotten.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
- affected with rot; decomposing, decaying, or putrid
- breaking up, esp through age or hard use; disintegratingrotten ironwork
- morally despicable or corrupt
- untrustworthy, disloyal, or treacherous
- informal unpleasant, unfortunate, or nastyrotten luck; rotten weather
- informal unsatisfactory or poorrotten workmanship
- informal miserably unwell
- informal distressed, uncomfortable, and embarrassedI felt rotten when I told him to go
- (of rocks, soils, etc) soft and crumbling, esp as a result of weathering
- slang, mainly Australian and NZ intoxicated; drunk
- extremely; very muchmen fancy her rotten
Word Origin and History for rotten
c.1300, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rotinn "decayed," past participle of verb related to rotna "to decay," from Proto-Germanic stem *rut- (see rot (v.)). Sense of "corrupt" is from late 14c.; weakened sense of "bad" first recorded 1881. Rotten apple is from a saying traced back to at least 1528: "For one rotten apple lytell and lytell putrifieth an whole heape." The Rotten Row in London and elsewhere probably is from a different word, but of uncertain origin.