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[dee-kom-puh-zish-uh n] /ˌdi kɒm pəˈzɪʃ ən/
the act or process of decomposing.
the state of being decomposed; decay.
Origin of decomposition
1650-60; probably < French décomposition, derivative of décomposer to decompose; see composition Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for decomposition
  • Resnik, said the agency believed that some of the bodies could be identified despite decomposition.
  • If you don't, they'll become too woody for fast decomposition.
  • Amber, fossilized resin from tree sap, protects trapped materials from decay and bacterial decomposition.
  • Compost requires a few basic ingredients and conditions for decomposition to occur.
  • Rotting, or fermentation, means bacterial action on food resulting in decomposition.
  • The maggots fed off the bacteria on the flesh aiding in faster decomposition.
  • After the plants die they drift to the bottom and their decomposition sucks the oxygen out of the seawater.
  • decomposition breaks down dangerous pathogens and reduces the stench.
  • Too much moisture will create mold and too little moisture will halt the decomposition process.
  • Certain in-vessel composting allows for the decomposition of meat, dairy and foods cooked in oil.
Word Origin and History for decomposition

1762, from de- + composition. An earlier word in the same form meant "further compounding of already composite things" (1650s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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decomposition in Medicine

decomposition de·com·po·si·tion (dē-kŏm'pə-zĭsh'ən)

  1. The act or result of decomposing; disintegration.

  2. Separation into constituents by chemical reaction.

  3. The breakdown or decay of organic materials; lysis.

de·com'po·si'tion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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decomposition in Science
  1. The separation of a substance into simpler substances or basic elements. Decomposition can be brought about by exposure to heat, light, or chemical or biological activity.

  2. The process of breaking down organic material, such as dead plant or animal tissue, into smaller molecules that are available for use by the organisms of an ecosystem. Decomposition is carried on by bacteria, fungi, protists, worms, and certain other organisms. See more at detritivore.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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