decompose

[dee-kuhm-pohz]

verb (used with object), de·com·posed, de·com·pos·ing.

to separate or resolve into constituent parts or elements; disintegrate: The bacteria decomposed the milk into its solid and liquid elements.

verb (used without object), de·com·posed, de·com·pos·ing.

to rot; putrefy: The egg began to decompose after a day in the sun.

Origin of decompose

1745–55; < French décomposer, equivalent to dé- dis-1 + composer to compose
Related formsde·com·pos·a·ble, adjectivede·com·pos·a·bil·i·ty, nounun·de·com·pos·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for decompose

Synonym study

2. See decay.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for decompose

decompose

verb

to break down (organic matter) or (of organic matter) to be broken down physically and chemically by bacterial or fungal action; rot
chem to break down or cause to break down into simpler chemical compounds
to break up or separate into constituent parts
(tr) maths to express in terms of a number of independent simpler components, as a set as a canonical union of disjoint subsets, or a vector into orthogonal components
Derived Formsdecomposable, adjectivedecomposability, noundecomposition (ˌdiːkɒmpəˈzɪʃən), noun
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

Word Origin and History for decompose
v.

1750s, "to separate into components," from de- "opposite of" + compose. Sense of "putrefy" is first recorded 1777. Related: Decomposed; decomposing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper