• synonyms


  1. a waxy substance produced by the decomposition of dead animal bodies in moist burial places or under water.
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Origin of adipocere

1795–1805; < French adipocire, equivalent to adipo- adipo- + cire wax < Latin cēra; English e by association with cēra; cf. cere2
Related formsad·i·poc·er·ous [ad-uh-pos-er-uh s] /ˌæd əˈpɒs ər əs/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adipocere

Historical Examples of adipocere

  • 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


  1. a waxlike fatty substance formed during the decomposition of corpsesNontechnical name: grave-wax
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Derived Formsadipocerous (ˌædɪˈpɒsərəs), adjective

Word Origin for adipocere

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

adipocere in Medicine


  1. A brown, fatty, waxlike substance that forms on dead animal tissue in response to moisture.lipocere
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Related formsad′i•po•cera•tous (-sĕrə-təs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.