[ dee-kom-puh-zish-uhn ]
See synonyms for decomposition on
  1. the act or process of decomposing.

  2. the state of being decomposed; decay.

Origin of decomposition

1650–60; probably <French décomposition, derivative of décomposer to decompose; see composition

Words Nearby decomposition Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use decomposition in a sentence

Scientific definitions for decomposition


[ dē-kŏm′pə-zĭshən ]

  1. The separation of a substance into simpler substances or basic elements. Decomposition can be brought about by exposure to heat, light, or chemical or biological activity.

  2. The process of breaking down organic material, such as dead plant or animal tissue, into smaller molecules that are available for use by the organisms of an ecosystem. Decomposition is carried on by bacteria, fungi, protists, worms, and certain other organisms. See more at detritivore.

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