Definition of adipocere in English:



  • [mass noun] A greyish waxy substance formed by the decomposition of soft tissue in dead bodies subjected to moisture.

    • ‘But some have also recognized its resemblance to a fatty wax called adipocere, which is known to form from body fats buried in wet, anaerobic environments.’
    • ‘So adipocere may be from white muscle deposits close to the red muscles.’
    • ‘If a body is readily accessible to insects, adipocere is unlikely to form.’
    • ‘To date only one other study of adipocere in grave soils has been performed.’
    • ‘The role of bacteria in adipocere formation and degradation must be understood before we can use the presence of adipocere to extrapolate information about the post-death interval.’
    • ‘But since her body had been converted into the wax-like adipocere, the stab marks were clearly visible.’
    • ‘The adipocere could have formed in these conditions and would have helped prevent the body decaying in the water.’


Early 19th century: from French adipocire, from Latin adeps, adip- fat + French cire wax (from Latin cera).