verb (used with object), decomposed, decomposing.
to separate or resolve into constituent parts or elements; disintegrate: The bacteria decomposed the milk into its solid and liquid elements.
verb (used without object), decomposed, decomposing.
to rot; putrefy: The egg began to decompose after a day in the sun.

1745–55; < French décomposer, equivalent to dé- dis-1 + composer to compose

decomposable, adjective
decomposability, noun
undecomposable, adjective

1. distill, fractionate, analyze. 2. See decay. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
decompose (ˌdiːkəmˈpəʊz)
1.  to break down (organic matter) or (of organic matter) to be broken down physically and chemically by bacterial or fungal action; rot
2.  chem to break down or cause to break down into simpler chemical compounds
3.  to break up or separate into constituent parts
4.  (tr) maths to express in terms of a number of independent simpler components, as a set as a canonical union of disjoint subsets, or a vector into orthogonal components

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1762, from de- + compose. Sense of "putrefy" is first recorded 1777.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Bacteria and other organisms evolved to decompose, or break down, dead animals and plants.
One of the organic pollutants in sewage sludge does not decompose when
  composted, a study has found.
It takes longer for stuff to decompose but it keeps critters out and gets the
  job done.
Reservoirs often flood forests, which give off methane and other greenhouse
  gases as they decompose.
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