decompose

The verb decompose means to break down or decay, like tree leaves that decompose into dirt, or cell phone batteries that decompose, resulting in more frequent charging for the user.

You know that the prefix de- means "remove" or "undo." And something that's composed is made up of parts. So to decompose is to undo all the parts until they go back to their original state: dirt. Living things decompose. When things like buildings or organizations break down, you typically use words like dismantle or deconstruct to describe the process.

Definitions of decompose
  1. verb
    break down
    “The bodies decomposed in the heat”
    synonyms: molder, moulder, rot
    see moresee less
    types:
    biodegrade
    break down naturally through the action of biological agents
    hang
    suspend (meat) in order to get a gamey taste
    type of:
    decay, degrade
    undergo decay or decomposition
  2. verb
    separate (substances) into constituent elements or parts
    synonyms: break down, break up, degrade
    see moresee less
    types:
    digest
    soften or disintegrate by means of chemical action, heat, or moisture
    dissociate
    to undergo a reversible or temporary breakdown of a molecule into simpler molecules or atoms
    crack
    reduce (petroleum) to a simpler compound by cracking
    type of:
    separate
    divide into components or constituents
  3. verb
    lose a stored charge, magnetic flux, or current
    synonyms: decay, disintegrate
    disintegrate
    cause to undergo fission or lose particles
    see moresee less
    type of:
    change integrity
    change in physical make-up
Word Family