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rotten

[rot-n]
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adjective, rot·ten·er, rot·ten·est.
  1. decomposing or decaying; putrid; tainted, foul, or bad-smelling.
  2. corrupt or morally offensive.
  3. wretchedly bad, unpleasant, or unsatisfactory; miserable: a rotten piece of work; a rotten day at the office.
  4. contemptible; despicable: a rotten little liar; a rotten trick.
  5. (of soil, rocks, etc.) soft, yielding, or friable as the result of decomposition.
  6. Australian Slang. drunk.
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Origin of rotten

1175–1225; Middle English roten < Old Norse rotinn, past participle of an unrecorded verb meaning “to rot”
Related formsrot·ten·ly, adverbrot·ten·ness, nounhalf-rot·ten, adjectiveun·rot·ten, adjective

Synonyms

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Antonyms

1. sound. 2. moral.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

putridrottingdisgustingrancidnoxioussourspoiledcorruptmoldystaleoverripecrookedunpleasantunluckylousydiseasedcrummyamissnastydirty

Examples from the Web for rotten

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Even the best of them were rotten to the core, and but mere adventurers.

    Ridgeway

    Scian Dubh

  • There ain't a rotten knot in it from butt to finish, and mighty few of any other kind.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • She was of about two hundred tons burthen, but must have-been old and rotten.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It sheared off heads so many, that it, and the ground it most polluted, were a rotten red.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • But he took me to his own house for a glass of sherry and a biscuit, and there it wasn't so rotten.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson


British Dictionary definitions for rotten

rotten

adjective
  1. affected with rot; decomposing, decaying, or putrid
  2. breaking up, esp through age or hard use; disintegratingrotten ironwork
  3. morally despicable or corrupt
  4. untrustworthy, disloyal, or treacherous
  5. informal unpleasant, unfortunate, or nastyrotten luck; rotten weather
  6. informal unsatisfactory or poorrotten workmanship
  7. informal miserably unwell
  8. informal distressed, uncomfortable, and embarrassedI felt rotten when I told him to go
  9. (of rocks, soils, etc) soft and crumbling, esp as a result of weathering
  10. slang, mainly Australian and NZ intoxicated; drunk
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adverb informal
  1. extremely; very muchmen fancy her rotten
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Derived Formsrottenly, adverbrottenness, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse rottin; related to Old English rotian to rot 1
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 rotten

adj.

c.1300, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rotinn "decayed," past participle of verb related to rotna "to decay," from Proto-Germanic stem *rut- (see rot (v.)). Sense of "corrupt" is from late 14c.; weakened sense of "bad" first recorded 1881. Rotten apple is from a saying traced back to at least 1528: "For one rotten apple lytell and lytell putrifieth an whole heape." The Rotten Row in London and elsewhere probably is from a different word, but of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper