Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to decay and have a foul odor. See Synonyms at decay.
  • transitive v. To make gangrenous.
  • intransitive v. To become decayed and have a foul odor.
  • intransitive v. To become gangrenous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To become filled with a pus-like or bile-like substance.
  • v. To reach an advanced stage of decomposition.
  • v. To become gangrenous.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To become putrid; to decay offensively; to rot.
  • transitive v. To render putrid; to cause to decay offensively; to cause to be decomposed; to cause to rot.
  • transitive v. To corrupt; to make foul.
  • transitive v. To make morbid, carious, or gangrenous.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To render putrid; cause to decay with an offensive odor; cause to become fetid by rotting. See putrefaction.
  • To make carious or gangrenous.
  • To corrupt; make foul or offensive.
  • Synonyms Decay, Corrupt, etc. See rot.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. become putrid; decay with an offensive smell

Etymologies

Middle English putrefien, from Old French putrefier, from Latin putrefacere : puter, putr-, rotten; see pū̆- in Indo-European roots + facere, to make; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • * Dead bodies quickly putrefy and so become a health hazard to the living.

    In the Valley of the Shadow

  • Soon enough, a patient may be able to remain on such apparatuses for many months, long after meaningful brain function has ceased, until his skin and tissue begins to putrefy.

    Jacob M. Appel: Rational Rationing vs. Irrational Rationing: The Struggle for the Legacy of Ruben Betancourt

  • After we die, hate will be the first thing to putrefy within us . . .

    The Chosen Peoples

  • The carnage of this battle can not be imagined; the heat of mid-summer made the bodies of the dead men and horses putrefy almost immediately.

    Children of the Battlefield

  • They separate, putrefy, and fail to accomplish their reported claims.

    Unclutter Your Life in One Week

  • YUENDUMU, Australia -- Two dead cows putrefy at the entrance to this Aboriginal town deep in the Australian outback.

    'Tough Love' in the Outback

  • They do not ferment or putrefy in our colon, as do processed foods, dairy products and meats.

    How to Cure Constipation Naturally through Diet?

  • But let the site of such places be as it may, how can they be excused that have a delicious seat, a pleasant air, and all that nature can afford, and yet through their own nastiness, and sluttishness, immund and sordid manner of life, suffer their air to putrefy, and themselves to be chocked up?

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Sanguinem inficiunt, saith Villanovanus, they infect the blood, and putrefy it, Magninus holds, and must not therefore be taken via cibi, aut quantitate magna, not to make a meal of, or in any great quantity.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Many ill matters and projects are undertaken; and private suits do putrefy the public good.

    The Essays

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