• synonyms


[pyoo-truh-fak-shuh n]
See more synonyms for putrefaction on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act or process of putrefying; the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter by bacteria and fungi that results in obnoxiously odorous products; rotting.
  2. the state of being putrefied; decay.
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Origin of putrefaction

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin putrefactiōn- (stem of putrefactiō) a rotting, equivalent to Latin putrefact(us) (past participle of putrefacere to putrefy) + -iōn- -ion
Related formspu·tre·fac·tive, pu·tre·fa·cient [pyoo-truh-fey-shuh nt] /ˌpyu trəˈfeɪ ʃənt/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for putrefactive

disagreeable, putrid, tainted, musty, smelly, moldy, stale, fetid, soured, polluted, contaminated, bad, disgusting, foul, frowzy, gamy, high, impure, loathsome, malodorous

Examples from the Web for putrefactive

Historical Examples of putrefactive

  • (a) The harmful effects are not due to putrefactive processes.

    Appletons' Popular Science Monthly, November 1899


  • No danger arises from the living creatures in water; but putrefactive matters may produce serious diseases.

  • It is very strong in taste and smell, due to putrefactive germs that are added to the milk in its manufacture.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • Molds also help to make cheese, but neither these nor putrefactive organisms are desirable for foods other than those mentioned.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 1

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • My experience convinces me that in this country meat poisoning frequently results from putrefactive changes.

Word Origin and History for putrefactive



c.1400, from Old French putrefaction (14c.), from Latin putrefactionem (nominative putrefactio), noun of action from past participle stem of putrefacere "to make rotten," from putrere "to be rotten" (see putrid) + facere "to make, do" (see factitious).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

putrefactive in Medicine


  1. Bringing about putrefaction.
  2. Of, relating to, or characterized by putrefaction.
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  1. Decomposition of organic matter, especially protein, by microorganisms, resulting in production of foul-smelling matter.
  2. Putrefied matter.
  3. The condition of being putrefied.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.