Definition of rot in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɒt/

verb (rots, rotting, rotted)

1(Chiefly of animal or vegetable matter) decay or cause to decay by the action of bacteria and fungi; decompose: [no object]: the chalets were neglected and their woodwork was rotting away [with object]: caries sets in at a weak point and spreads to rot the whole tooth
More example sentences
  • After a few days, the sought after botrytis-infected grape can rot further by the action of another fungus into a gooey grey lump.
  • The rubbish rots and gives off gases like methane which is potentially explosive as well as adding to global warming.
  • Potatoes rotted in the hold and drinking water grew thick and poured like oil.
decay, decompose, disintegrate, crumble, become rotten;
corrode, perish
go bad, go off, spoil;
go sour, moulder, go mouldy, taint;
putrefy, fester, become gangrenous, mortify
rare necrose, sphacelate
1.1 [no object] Gradually deteriorate, especially through neglect: the education system has been allowed to rot
More example sentences
  • None is more difficult to fathom than the studio, which occasionally buys the rights to a film, then allows it to rot away on a shelf.
  • Soon I won't be able to pay for these lessons, then I'll be stuck rotting away at home.
  • Guards' keys jangled as you passed the idle silence and time of your life rotting away.
deteriorate, degenerate, decline, decay, fall into decay, go to rack and ruin, become dilapidated, go to seed, go downhill, languish, moulder
informal go to pot, go to the dogs, go down the toilet
2 [with object] British informal, dated Make fun of; tease: has anybody been rotting you?


[mass noun]
1The process of decaying: the leaves were turning black with rot
More example sentences
  • Ryell looked around for something, anything that might be of use, but he saw only the faded gray-blue cushions, the trim of the seats rusted over, the wood black with rot and decay.
  • Think of composting and worms immediately come to mind, not to mention such unsettling concepts as decay and rot.
  • The air had a bite to it present only in the fall months; a snap of death that lacked the clean cold of December, filled instead with half-formed aromas of rot and decay.
1.1Rotten or decayed matter.
Example sentences
  • As soon as they are rooted from the ground, they will begin to slowly decay and eventually wither into a brown mess of rot.
  • Splitting the stalk reveals internal discoloration and soft slimy rot mostly initiating at the nodes.
  • Stalks with significant rot will crush easily.
1.2 [usually with modifier] Any of a number of fungal or bacterial diseases that cause tissue deterioration, especially in plants.
Example sentences
  • Bacterial stalk rot can affect the plant at any node from the soil surface up to the ear leaves and tassels.
  • Charcoal rot is a fungal disease favored by hot, dry weather at this stage in crop development.
  • Such antagonism may also protect the corn plant from the E verticillioides disease, stalk rot.
decay, decomposition;
mould, mouldiness, mildew, blight, canker;
putrefaction, putrescence;
wet rot, dry rot
1.3 (often the rot) Liver rot in sheep.
2 (the rot) British A process of deterioration; a decline in standards: there is enough talent in the team to stop the rot
More example sentences
  • Afraid that the city centre itself was in danger of becoming a ‘no-go’ area, Ford had come to believe that only the shooting of identified ‘ring leaders’ would stop the rot.
  • In a statement the CWU said that it is ‘vital we stop the rot at an early stage’ or ‘tens of thousands of jobs’ could be lost in the UK.
  • In recent years, Camelot has been struggling to curb falling ticket sales, launching a midweek draw in February 1997 in an attempt to stop the rot.
deterioration, decline;
corruption, canker, cancer
2.1US Corruption on the part of officials.
Example sentences
  • He admitted yesterday he should have smelt the rot at the core of key planning decisions in the 1990s.
3 informal, chiefly British Nonsense; rubbish: don’t talk rot [as exclamation]: ‘Rot!’ she said with vehemence
More example sentences
  • In our school, you're not allowed to climb trees - liabilities and all that rot.
  • They say it's to incite a new nationalistic spirit or some such rot.
  • You've just been in terrible trouble for saying that feminism is all rot and that it went off in the wrong direction.
nonsense, rubbish, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, blather, blether
informal hogwash, baloney, tripe, drivel, bilge, bosh, bull, bunk, hot air, eyewash, piffle, poppycock, phooey, hooey, malarkey, twaddle, guff, dribble
British informal cobblers, codswallop, cock, stuff and nonsense, tosh
Scottish & Northern English informal havers
North American informal garbage, flapdoodle, blathers, wack, bushwa, applesauce
informal, dated bunkum, tommyrot, cod, gammon
North American vulgar slang crapola


Old English rotian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rotten; the noun (Middle English) may have come via Scandinavian.

Words that rhyme with rot

allot, begot, Bernadotte, blot, bot, capot, clot, cocotte, cot, culotte, dot, forgot, garrotte (US garrote), gavotte, got, grot, hot, jot, knot, lot, Mayotte, motte, not, Ott, outshot, plot, pot, sans-culotte, Scot, Scott, shallot, shot, slot, snot, sot, spot, squat, stot, swat, swot, tot, trot, undershot, Wat, Watt, what, wot, yacht

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rot

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