Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Being in a state of putrefaction or decay; decomposed.
  • adjective Having a foul odor resulting from or suggestive of decay; putrid.
  • adjective Made weak or unsound by rot.
  • adjective Morally corrupt or despicable.
  • adjective Very bad; wretched.
  • adverb To a very great degree.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A dialectal variant of ratten.
  • Good for nothing; trashy; mean; detestable.
  • Undergoing natural decomposition; affected by rot or organic dissolution; putrid (as animal and some vegetable matters), soft (as fruits, etc.), or weak (as vegetable fibers, fabrics, etc.) from elemental decay: as, a rotten carcass or egg; a rotten log or plank; rotten cloth.
  • Putrid from organic decay, or from the presence of decomposing matter; hence, of a putrid quality; ill-smelling; fetid.
  • Affected with the disease called rot, as sheep or other animals.
  • Unsound as if from rotting; in a loose or disintegrated state; soft or friable; yielding: as, rotten iron or stone.
  • Unsound in character or quality; in a corrupt or untrustworthy state; destitute of stability or integrity.
  • In printing, said of bad prints from woodcuts, that show holes and broken lines.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Offensive to the smell; fetid; disgusting.
  • adjective Not firm or trusty; unsound; defective; treacherous; unsafe.
  • adjective See under Borough.
  • adjective (Min.) a soft stone, called also Tripoli (from the country from which it was formerly brought), used in all sorts of finer grinding and polishing in the arts, and for cleaning metallic substances. The name is also given to other friable siliceous stones applied to like uses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of perishable items, overridden with bacteria and other infectious agents.
  • adjective In a state of decay.
  • adjective Cruel, mean or immoral.
  • adjective Bad or terrible.
  • adverb To an extreme degree.

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

  • adjective damaged by decay; hence unsound and useless
  • adjective very bad
  • adjective having decayed or disintegrated; usually implies foulness

Etymologies

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

[Middle English roten, from Old Norse rotinn.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English roten, from Old Norse rotinn ("decayed, rotten"), past participle of an unrecorded verb related to Old Norse rotna ("to rot") and Old English rotian ("to rot"). More at rot.

Examples

  • If it wasn't rotten, _rotten_ luck that he was just off for Paris on government business!

    Shelled by an Unseen Foe

  • The trader had read that the Germans were promoting what he called rotten, low-down, dirty propaganda about sour relations between Americans and First Americans.

    Yellow Dirt

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    CTV News RSS Feed

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    U.S. News

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

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  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    TheBostonChannel.com - News

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    WSBTV.com - Local News

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound (180-kilogram) father.

    Breaking News: CBS News

Comments

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  • "In printing, said of bad prints from woodcuts, that show holes and broken lines." --CD

    April 13, 2011