Definition of rotten in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɒt(ə)n/

adjective (rottener, rottenest)

1Suffering from decay: rotten eggs the supporting beams were rotten
More example sentences
  • If that wasn't bad enough, it also smelled of putrid rotten eggs.
  • I caught it too… a foul, noxious odor, the sulfur of rotten eggs, the reek of sewage and decay.
  • Pools of boiling hot mud - filling the air with the smell of sulfur, similar to rotten eggs - are seen not far from the island's beautiful beaches.
decaying, decayed, rotting, bad, off, decomposed, decomposing, putrid, putrescent, spoiled, spoilt, tainted, perished, mouldy, mouldering, mildewy, sour, rancid, rank, festering, fetid, stinking, smelly, unfit for human consumption;
maggoty, worm-eaten, wormy, flyblown
disintegrating, crumbling, falling to pieces, decomposing, decaying;
decaying, decayed, crumbling, carious, black
rare caried
1.1Morally, socially, or politically corrupt: he believed that the whole art business was rotten
More example sentences
  • For them, the West was crass, materialistic and, of course, morally rotten.
  • His book was one of the first to lay down just how rotten and corrupt the Florida election was.
  • Few raise their voices to remember the thousands who suffered at the hands of the morally rotten medics who worked for the Imperial Army war effort.
corrupt, unprincipled, dishonest, dishonourable, unscrupulous, untrustworthy, immoral, villainous, bad, wicked, evil, sinful, iniquitous, vicious, base, amoral, debauched, degenerate, dissolute, dissipated, depraved, perverted, wanton;
informal crooked, warped
British informal bent
nasty, unkind, unpleasant, foul, bad, obnoxious, vile, contemptible, despicable, wretched, shabby;
spiteful, mean, malicious, poisonous, mean-spirited, cruel, hateful, hurtful;
unfair, uncharitable, uncalled for, below the belt, unacceptable, unwarranted
informal dirty, filthy, dirty rotten, low-down, off
British informal beastly, out of order
vulgar slang shitty
2 informal Very bad: she was a rotten cook
More example sentences
  • Americans may remember auto manufacturer, which vanished from the U.S. market in 1987, for poor quality and rotten reliability.
  • If you only knew how many lousy meals and rotten movies he has dragged Diana to throughout the years.
  • In general, funds with poor long-term past performance tend to have rotten future performance.
bad, poor, dreadful, awful, terrible, frightful, atrocious, hopeless, inadequate, inferior, unsatisfactory, laughable, substandard
informal crummy, pathetic, useless, lousy, appalling, abysmal, dire
British informal duff, chronic, poxy, rubbish, pants, a load of pants
North American vulgar slang chickenshit
wretched, horrible, unspeakable
informal damn, damned, blasted, blessed, flaming, precious, confounded
British informal flipping, blinking, blooming, bloody, bleeding, effing, chuffing
North American informal goddam
Australian/New Zealand informal plurry
British informal, dated bally, ruddy, deuced
vulgar slang fucking, frigging
British vulgar slang sodding
Irish vulgar slang fecking
2.1Extremely unpleasant: it’s rotten for you having to cope on your own
More example sentences
  • I can't wait to get out of this dirty, rotten place.
  • He reeked and tears filled her eyes from a mix of his rotten smell and the pain his dirty fingernails were causing as they dug into her cheek.
  • That's one reason that I thought she'd had a rotten time at the social.
unpleasant, disagreeable, miserable, awful, dreadful, terrible, frightful, bad, vile, grim, horrid, horrible, ghastly;
disappointing, regrettable, unfortunate, unlucky
informal lousy, beastly, diabolical
British informal shocking
2.2Unwell: she tried to tell me she felt rotten
More example sentences
  • I feel ready, but I was pretty nervous yesterday after feeling so rotten.
  • She's feeling rotten from the anaesthetic but otherwise she is fine.
ill, unwell, poorly, bad, out of sorts, indisposed, not oneself, sick, queasy, nauseous, nauseated, peaky, liverish, green about the gills, run down, washed out, faint, dizzy, giddy, light-headed;
British  off, off colour
informal under the weather, below par, not up to par, funny, peculiar, rough, lousy, awful, terrible, dreadful, crummy
British informal grotty, ropy
Scottish informal wabbit, peely-wally
Australian/New Zealand informal crook
vulgar slang crappy
dated queer, seedy
rare peaked, peakish


To an extreme degree; very much: your mother said that I spoiled you rotten we used to send him up something rotten
More example sentences
  • He is a decent, dull-faced fellow who appears completely normal, which is more than can be said for the local copper, who fancies Rachel rotten.
  • You know that my mother spoils both my children rotten.
  • Mothers were supposed to harass you until you had your own children, after which they spoiled your children rotten.
very much, a lot, a great deal;



Pronunciation: /ˈrɒt(ə)nli/
Example sentences
  • ‘The workers have done everything for the company but we've been treated rottenly,’ said the father of two.
  • Regardless of good or bad actions, the males come out of the story rottenly, whereas the females end happily.
  • Giving his description of the game, he said ‘Young Norman Brookes has a rottenly brilliant game’.


Pronunciation: /ˈrɒt(ə)nnəs/
Example sentences
  • He has a long background of becoming persona non grata in places where he has struggled against what he considers to be endemic rottenness in society.
  • But the actual reason Eastern spices were so much valued for so long was that their hot flavours concealed the taste of rottenness in the meat they were cooked with.
  • It merely exposed the rottenness and the hypocrisy of the establishment he hated anyway.


Middle English: from Old Norse rotinn.

Words that rhyme with rotten

begotten, cotton, forgotten, ill-gotten, misbegotten

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rot¦ten

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