decay

decayable, adj.decayedness /di kayd"nis, -kay"id-/, adj.decayless, adj.
/di kay"/, v.i.
1. to become decomposed; rot: vegetation that was decaying.
2. to decline in excellence, prosperity, health, etc.; deteriorate.
3. Physics. (of a radioactive nucleus) to change spontaneously into one or more different nuclei in a process in which atomic particles, as alpha particles, are emitted from the nucleus, electrons are captured or lost, or fission takes place.
v.t.
4. to cause to decay or decompose; rot: The dampness of the climate decayed the books.
n.
5. decomposition; rot: Decay made the wood unsuitable for use.
6. a gradual falling into an inferior condition; progressive decline: the decay of international relations; the decay of the Aztec civilizations.
7. decline in or loss of strength, health, intellect, etc.: His mental decay is distressing.
8. Also called disintegration, radioactive decay. Physics. a radioactive process in which a nucleus undergoes spontaneous transformation into one or more different nuclei and simultaneously emits radiation, loses electrons, or undergoes fission.
9. Aerospace. the progressive, accelerating reduction in orbital parameters, particularly apogee and perigee, of a spacecraft due to atmospheric drag.
[1425-75; (v.) late ME decayen < ONF decair, equiv. to de- DE- + cair to fall < VL *cadere, for L cadere; (n.) late ME, deriv. of the v.]
Syn. 1. degenerate, wither; putrefy. DECAY, DECOMPOSE, DISINTEGRATE, ROT imply a deterioration or falling away from a sound condition. DECAY implies either entire or partial deterioration by progressive natural changes: Teeth decay. DECOMPOSE suggests the reducing of a substance to its component elements: Moisture makes some chemical compounds decompose. DISINTEGRATE emphasizes the breaking up, going to pieces, or wearing away of anything, so that its original wholeness is impaired: Rocks disintegrate. ROT is a stronger word than DECAY and is esp. applied to decaying vegetable matter, which may or may not emit offensive odors: Potatoes rot. 5. putrefaction. 7. deterioration, decadence, impairment, dilapidation, degeneration.

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(as used in expressions)
tooth decay

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Decay — De*cay , n. 1. Gradual failure of health, strength, soundness, prosperity, or of any species of excellence or perfection; tendency toward dissolution or extinction; corruption; rottenness; decline; deterioration; as, the decay of the body; the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decay — vb Decay, decompose, rot, putrefy, spoil, disintegrate, crumble mean to undergo or, in some cases, to cause something to undergo destructive dissolution. Decay implies change, commonly a natural and gradual change, from a state of soundness or… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • decay — [dē kā′, dikā′] vi. [ME decaien < Anglo Fr & OFr decäir < VL * decadere: see DECADENCE] 1. to lose strength, soundness, health, beauty, prosperity, etc. gradually; waste away; deteriorate 2. to rot or decompose 3. to undergo radioactive… …   English World dictionary

  • Decay — De*cay , v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Decayed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Decaying}.] [OF. decaeir, dechaer, decheoir, F. d[ e]choir, to decline, fall, become less; L. de + cadere to fall. See {Chance}.] To pass gradually from a sound, prosperous, or perfect… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Decay — De*cay , v. t. 1. To cause to decay; to impair. [R.] [1913 Webster] Infirmity, that decays the wise. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To destroy. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decay — [n] breaking down, collapse adulteration, atrophy, blight, caries, consumption, corrosion, crumbling, decadence, decline, decomposition, decrease, decrepitude, degeneracy, degeneration, depreciation, deterioration, dilapidation, disintegration,… …   New thesaurus

  • decay — I verb addle, atrophy, be reduced in worth, become enfeebled, become lower in quality, become putrescent, blight, break down, break up, canker, consume, corrode, corrupt, crumble, decline, decompose, decompound, degenerate, depreciate,… …   Law dictionary

  • decay — ► VERB 1) rot through the action of bacteria and fungi. 2) decline in quality or vigour. 3) Physics (of a radioactive substance, particle, etc.) undergo change to a different form by emitting radiation. ► NOUN 1) the state or process of decaying …   English terms dictionary

  • Decay — Contents 1 Science and technlogy 1.1 Biology 1.2 Physics 1.3 …   Wikipedia

  • decay — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun ADJECTIVE ▪ rapid ▪ slow ▪ dental (esp. BrE), tooth ▪ industrial (esp. BrE), urban …   Collocations dictionary

  • decay — 01. The [decaying] leaves in the garden are actually good for it and make the soil richer. 02. Tooth [decay] is preventable with proper oral hygiene. 03. The dentist said my tooth is so [decayed] that he may have to pull it. 04. The rise in… …   Grammatical examples in English

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