• synonyms


[dee-kuh m-poh-zer]
  1. a person or thing that decomposes.
  2. Ecology. an organism, usually a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down the cells of dead plants and animals into simpler substances.
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Origin of decomposer

First recorded in 1815–25; decompose + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for decomposer

Historical Examples of decomposer

  • You put in a good inferior article of plumbing,—such as you find everywhere—and add my decomposer, and there you are.

    The American Claimant

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • However, he said nothing, and felt sure his morphia could not be detected in beer by any decomposer but the stomach.

    Hard Cash

    Charles Reade

British Dictionary definitions for decomposer


  1. ecology any organism in a community, such as a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down dead tissue enabling the constituents to be recycled to the environmentSee also consumer (def. 3), producer (def. 8)
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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 decomposer


1833, "a decomposing agent," agent noun from decompose.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

decomposer in Science


  1. See detritivore.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.