Verb > Decompose

Verb – Decompose

1 : to cause something (such as dead plants and the bodies of dead animals) to be slowly destroyed and broken down by natural processes, chemicals, etc.

(+ object)

Bacteria and fungi help decompose organic matter.

partially decomposed bodies

(no object)

The wood on our deck is beginning to decompose. (=(less formally) rot)

the smell of decomposing leaves

Synonyms see: DECAY

2 : technical : to cause something (such as a chemical) to be separated into smaller or simpler parts

(+ object)

decompose a chemical compound

(no object)

The compound will decompose in the presence of light.

decomposition noun (noncount)

The wood is already showing signs of decomposition.

the decomposition of organic matter