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decompose

Line breaks: de|com¦pose
Pronunciation: /diːkəmˈpəʊz
 
/

Definition of decompose in English:

verb

1(With reference to a dead body or other organic matter) make or become rotten; decay or cause to decay: [no object]: the body had begun to decompose (as adjective decomposing) decomposing fungi [with object]: dead plant matter can be completely decomposed by micro-organisms
More example sentences
  • The body begins to decompose soon after it is buried.
  • It takes several weeks or longer, depending upon the size, for the body to completely decompose.
  • ‘When a body decomposes in water, it becomes completely disfigured,’ he continues.
Synonyms
decay, rot, putrefy, go bad, go off, spoil, fester, perish, deteriorate, degrade, break down, break up, moulder
technical mortify, necrotize, sphacelate
archaic corrupt
1.1(With reference to a chemical compound) break down or cause to break down into component elements or simpler constituents: [no object]: many chemicals decompose rapidly under high temperature [with object]: living organisms are used to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen
More example sentences
  • When heated, it decomposes into calcium oxide and carbon dioxide gas.
  • Davy had developed a technique by which unusually stable compounds could be decomposed into their constituent elements.
  • All dioxins are very stable and unlike most other chemicals do not quickly decompose or break down in the environment.
Synonyms
break up, break apart, fall apart, fragment, disintegrate, crumble, dissolve;
break down, decay
1.2 [with object] Mathematics Express (a number or function) as a combination of simpler components: in how many ways can one decompose a number as a sum of squares?
More example sentences
  • If you're not familiar with the Fourier transform, its purpose is to decompose a function into sinusoidal basis functions.
  • This can be decomposed into the two functions, each of which we know how to differentiate.
  • The DWT decomposes a function into its wavelet coefficients.

Origin

mid 18th century (in the sense 'separate into simpler constituents'): from French décomposer, from de- (expressing reversal) + composer.

Derivatives

decomposable

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • The problem of smells produced by food waste could be resolved by more frequent collection of decomposable waste during warm weather.
  • We're saying there's this stuff deep in the ice, and that if it is thawed out, it is actually very decomposable.
  • In this fashion, the problems that are decomposable into problems of bounded difficulty can be solved very efficiently (in sub-quadratic or quadratic time).

decomposer

2
noun
Example sentences
  • These organisms form the important class of decomposers within the food web, without which cellulose would continue to accumulate in the environment.
  • Once an organism has died, be it plant or animal, the phosphorus is returned directly to the soil by the action of decomposers such as bacteria and fungi.
  • Finally, decomposers are organisms such as bacteria and fungi that feed on the remains of dead plants and animals.

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