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verb (used with object), pu·tre·fied, pu·tre·fy·ing.
  1. to render putrid; cause to rot or decay with an offensive odor.
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verb (used without object), pu·tre·fied, pu·tre·fy·ing.
  1. to become putrid; rot.
  2. to become gangrenous.
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Origin of putrefy

1350–1400; Middle English putrefien < Middle French putrefier < Vulgar Latin *putreficāre, for Latin putrefacere to make rotten
Related formspu·tre·fi·a·ble, adjectivepu·tre·fi·er, nounun·pu·tre·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·pu·tre·fied, adjective

Synonyms for putrefy

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for putrefy

stink, decay, disintegrate, taint, crumble, turn, molder, spoil, corrupt, decompose, deteriorate

Examples from the Web for putrefy

Historical Examples of putrefy

British Dictionary definitions for putrefy


verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (of organic matter) to decompose or rot with an offensive smell
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Derived Formsputrefaction (ˌpjuːtrɪˈfækʃən), nounputrefactive or putrefacient (ˌpjuːtrɪˈfeɪʃənt), adjectiveputrefiable, adjectiveputrefier, noun

Word Origin for putrefy

C15: from Old French putrefier + Latin putrefacere, from puter rotten + facere to make
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 putrefy


mid-15c., from Middle French putréfier, from Latin putrefacere "to make rotten," from putrere (see putrid) + facere (see factitious). Related: Putrefied; putrefying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

putrefy in Medicine


  1. To become decayed or cause to decay and have a foul odor.
  2. To make or become gangrenous.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.