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Definition of "decay" []

  • Biology To break down into component parts; rot. (verb-intransitive)
  • Physics To disintegrate or diminish by radioactive decay. (verb-intransitive)
  • Electronics To decrease gradually in magnitude. Used of voltage or current. (verb-intransitive)
  • Aerospace To decrease in orbit. Used of an artificial satellite. (verb-intransitive)
  • To fall into ruin: a civilization that had begun to decay. (verb-intransitive)
  • To decline or cause to decline gradually in health, prosperity, excellence, etc; deteriorate; waste away (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To rot or cause to rot as a result of bacterial, fungal, or chemical action; decompose (verb)
  • (of an atomic nucleus) to undergo radioactive disintegration (verb)
  • (of an elementary particle) to transform into two or more different elementary particles (verb)
  • (of a stored charge, magnetic flux, etc) to decrease gradually when the source of energy has been removed (verb)
  • The process of decline, as in health, mentality, beauty, etc (noun)
  • The state brought about by this process (noun)
  • Decomposition, as of vegetable matter (noun)
  • Rotten or decayed matter (noun)
  • A spontaneous transformation of an elementary particle into two or more different particles (noun)
  • (of an excited atom or molecule) the losing of energy by the spontaneous emission of photons (noun)
  • A gradual decrease of a stored charge, magnetic flux, current, etc, when the source of energy has been removed (noun)
  • The fading away of a note (noun)

www.Collinsdictionary.com (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "decay" in a sentence
  • "Now, what we call decay is really the growth of these fungi."
  • "_Caput mundi; _ but a kind of idiot head at that: inchoate, without co-ordination; maggots scampering through what might have been the brain; the life fled, and that great rebellion of the many lives which we call decay having taken its place."
  • "Once the sands of an inland sea, about 20 such deposits lie in North America, filled with methane produced by the decay from the bugs, plants and animals that ended up in the ancient ooze."