Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To undergo decomposition, especially organic decomposition; decay.
  • intransitive v. To become damaged, weakened, or useless because of decay: The beams had rotted away.
  • intransitive v. To disappear or fall by decaying: One could see the blackened areas where the branches had rotted off.
  • intransitive v. To languish; decline: "He was thrown into one of Napoleon's dungeons and left to rot” ( Michael Massing).
  • intransitive v. To decay morally; become degenerate.
  • transitive v. To cause to decompose or decay. See Synonyms at decay.
  • n. The process of rotting or the condition of being rotten: The rot spread quickly, rendering the bridge unsafe even for pedestrians.
  • n. Foot rot.
  • n. See liver fluke.
  • n. Any of several plant diseases characterized by the breakdown of tissue and caused by various bacteria or fungi.
  • n. Pointless talk; nonsense: She always talks such rot.
  • n. Archaic Any disease causing the decay of flesh.
  • interj. Used to express annoyance, contempt, or impatience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To suffer decomposition due to biological action, especially by fungi or bacteria.
  • v. To decline in function or utility.
  • v. To deteriorate in any way.
  • n. The process of becoming rotten; putrefaction.
  • n. Any of several diseases in which breakdown of tissue occurs.
  • n. Verbal nonsense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To undergo a process common to organic substances by which they lose the cohesion of their parts and pass through certain chemical changes, giving off usually in some stages of the process more or less offensive odors; to become decomposed by a natural process; to putrefy; to decay.
  • intransitive v. Figuratively: To perish slowly; to decay; to die; to become corrupt.
  • transitive v. To make putrid; to cause to be wholly or partially decomposed by natural processes.
  • transitive v. To expose, as flax, to a process of maceration, etc., for the purpose of separating the fiber; to ret.
  • n. Process of rotting; decay; putrefaction.
  • n. A disease or decay in fruits, leaves, or wood, supposed to be caused by minute fungi. See Bitter rot, Black rot, etc., below.
  • n. A fatal distemper which attacks sheep and sometimes other animals. It is due to the presence of a parasitic worm in the liver or gall bladder. See 1st Fluke, 2.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To undergo natural decomposition; fall into a course or a state of elemental dissolution; suffer loss of coherence from decay: used of organic substances which either do or do not putrefy in the process, and sometimes, by extension, of inorganic substances.
  • To become morally corrupt; deteriorate through stagnation or indulgence; suffer loss of stamina or principle.
  • To become morally offensive or putrid; be nauseous or repulsive; excite contempt or disgust.
  • To become affected with the disease called rot.
  • Synonyms Rot, Decay, Putrefy, Corrupt, Decompose. Rot is, by its age and brevity, so energetic a word that it is often considered inelegant, and decay is used as a softer word. That which rots or decays may or may not emit a foul odor, as an egg or an apple; putrefy by derivation implies such foulness of odor, and hence is especially applied to animal matter when it is desired to emphasize that characteristic result of its rotting. Corrupt is sometimes used as a strong but not offensive word for thorough spoiling, that makes a thing repulsive or loathsome. To decompose is to return to the original elements; the word is sometimes used as a euphemism for rot or putrefy. The moral uses of the first four words correspond to the physical.
  • To cause decomposition in; subject to a process of rotting; make rotten: as, dampness rots many things; to rot flax. See ret. Sometimes used imperatively in imprecation. Compare rat, drat.
  • To produce a rotting or putrefactive disease in; specifically, to give the rot to, as sheep or other animals. See rot, n., 2.
  • n. The process of rotting, or the state of being rotten; also, rotted substance; matter weakened or disintegrated by rotting.
  • n. A condition of rottenness to which certain animals and plants are liable, as the sheep and the potato (see potato), attended by more or less putrescence.
  • n. Disgusting stuff; nauseating nonsense; unendurable trash; rant; twaddle; bosh.
  • To ‘make fun’; fool; talk nonsense.
  • To fail successively at batting: said of a cricket eleven.
  • To chaff; make fun of.
  • n. In cricket, the failure of several batsmen on a side.
  • n. See black.
  • n. A name of certain plant-diseases of a bacterial or fungous origin, characterized by decay and blackening of the tissues. The following are the most important: black rot of the apple, caused by Sphæropsis Malorum; black rot of the cabbage, due to Pseudomonas campestris; black rot of the grape, caused by Guignardia Bidwellii; black rot of the pear and quince, caused by Sphæropsis Malorum; black rot of the sweet-potato, caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata (also called black-shank); and black rot of the tomato, caused by Macrosporium Tomato.
  • Humbug! Nonsense! Stuff!

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

  • v. break down
  • n. a state of decay usually accompanied by an offensive odor
  • n. unacceptable behavior (especially ludicrously false statements)
  • n. (biology) the process of decay caused by bacterial or fungal action
  • v. become physically weaker

Etymologies

Middle English roten, from Old English rotian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English rotten, roten, from Old English rotian ("to rot, become corrupted, ulcerate, putrefy"), from Proto-Germanic *rutōnan (“to rot”), from Proto-Indo-European *reud- (“to tear”), from *reu- (“to tear, dig, gather”). Cognate with West Frisian rotsje ("to rot"), Dutch rotten ("to rot"), German rößen ("to steep flax") and German verrotten ("to rot"), Icelandic rotna ("to rot"). See rotten. (Wiktionary)

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