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The Definition of - decay (verb)

    verb (used without object)
    to become decomposed; rot:
    vegetation that was decaying.
    to decline in excellence, prosperity, health, etc.; deteriorate.
    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.
    verb (used with object)
    to cause to decay or decompose; rot:
    The dampness of the climate decayed the books.
    decomposition; rot:
    Decay made the wood unsuitable for use.
    a gradual falling into an inferior condition; progressive decline:
    the decay of international relations; the decay of the Aztec civilizations.
    decline in or loss of strength, health, intellect, etc.:
    His mental decay is distressing.
    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.
    Aerospace. the progressive, accelerating reduction in orbital parameters, particularly apogee and perigee, of a spacecraft due to atmospheric drag.

Word Example of - decay

    Example Sentences for decay

    In either case they decay as soon as their work is accomplished.

    His death was a myth for the decay of vegetation, and his resurrection was a myth for its revival.

    As this also occurs in early autumn, I suppose it to be occasioned by the decay of some of the leaves.

    This, if left as it is, will decay and cause great mischief.

    The symptoms of decay, which not even the wise rule of Theodosius had been able to remove, had grown more alarming.

    The ground was covered with the bodies of men, women, and children, in all the loathsome stages of decay.

    If the influence of tradition becomes unduly pronounced the moral life tends to decay and lose its vital adaptability.

    Ruin and decay had invaded the sleeping-room of the miser, as it had every other part of his house.

    The "church picnic" was held in a scene of decay, but 260 people, with all the women but three in red, enlivened it.

    The intellect is of slower development than the body, and takes longer to decay.

Word Origin & History of - decay

    Word Origin & History

    decay c.1460, from O.Fr. decair, from V.L. *decadere "to fall off," from L. cadere "to fall" (see case (1)). Meaning "gradual decrease in radioactivity" is from 1897.

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