Definition of rot in English:



  • 1(chiefly of animal or vegetable matter) decay or cause to decay by the action of bacteria and fungi; decompose.

    no object ‘the chalets were neglected and their woodwork was rotting away’
    with object ‘caries sets in at a weak point and spreads to rot the whole tooth’
    • ‘The tunnels were shored up by timber and after 85 years, many of these timber supports are rotting away.’
    • ‘Potatoes rotted in the hold and drinking water grew thick and poured like oil.’
    • ‘Those eggs had been lying in the belltower for years rotting away.’
    • ‘My tomatoes are rotting on the vine before they start to ripen.’
    • ‘It looked ironically enough, like the most expensive house in the area, even though the wooden window frames were rotting away.’
    • ‘After a few days, the sought after botrytis-infected grape can rot further by the action of another fungus into a gooey grey lump.’
    • ‘He didn't let his teeth rot out in prison, unlike John there.’
    • ‘More than 20 years have passed since Janzen pondered why fruits rot, seeds mold, and meat spoils.’
    • ‘If they are not cremated, put to sea, left to rot or to wild animals, they are often buried.’
    • ‘Many producers are letting the beans rot on the trees, since it makes little economic sense to harvest them.’
    • ‘The wood was rotting on one side, and no smoke came from the brick chimney.’
    • ‘They also demanded the return of their recently socialized grain reserves, noting that the grain was simply rotting in its current storage conditions.’
    • ‘Virtually maintenance-free, the material will not rot, warp, or crack, the manufacturer says.’
    • ‘The lore holds that elephants can get drunk by eating the fermented fruit rotting on the ground.’
    • ‘A bruised pumpkin rots quickly and might not make it through the Halloween season.’
    • ‘The Sathe-made laminated box would remain airtight until either the wood rotted away or someone broke the seal around the lid.’
    • ‘The rubbish rots and gives off gases like methane which is potentially explosive as well as adding to global warming.’
    • ‘She finds a massive tree that has died and rotted from the inside.’
    • ‘The stalk rots completely and the top collapses.’
    • ‘The turf was stacked and left for 18 months to rot down.’
    decay, decompose, disintegrate, crumble, become rotten
    go bad, go off, spoil
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    1. 1.1no object Gradually deteriorate, especially through neglect.
      ‘the education system has been allowed to rot’
      • ‘In the meantime, it might be a good time for those who have paintings by female artists rotting away in their basements to dust them off and put them up for sale.’
      • ‘Sadly, a big chunk of this money mountain is rotting away in obsolete accounts that pay a pittance in interest.’
      • ‘For a moment she thought she very well might be rotting in a dungeon somewhere.’
      • ‘Without a professional individual to bring her out, that filly would rot.’
      • ‘The seed that gave birth to ideas and images has slowly begun to rot - rot in it's apathetic existence.’
      • ‘Four PCs are rotting away in a Franklin County evidence room, and there is little their owners can do about it.’
      • ‘People rot in jail awaiting trial, making the constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial a macabre joke.’
      • ‘Next was Lia, Lia who sat rotting away in the corners of a prison cell.’
      • ‘Guards' keys jangled as you passed the idle silence and time of your life rotting away.’
      • ‘I'll take good care of the restaurant… even while you rot in prison.’
      • ‘Would you rather die a quick death or rot twenty to life in prison?’
      • ‘None is more difficult to fathom than the studio, which occasionally buys the rights to a film, then allows it to rot away on a shelf.’
      • ‘If they were willing to bribe a noxious couple to help a poor girl then what lengths might the this family go to when one of their own was rotting away in jail?’
      • ‘As I type this my body slowly rots away in the dingy, and dull prison known as… detention.’
      • ‘Soon I won't be able to pay for these lessons, then I'll be stuck rotting away at home.’
      • ‘I'm going to rot away in some jail.’
      • ‘Income equals consumption and no goods are left to rot on the shelves.’
      • ‘These players are rotting on the bench.’
      deteriorate, degenerate, decline, decay, fall into decay, go to rack and ruin, become dilapidated, go to seed, go downhill, languish, moulder
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  • 2British dated, informal with object Make fun of; tease.

    ‘has anybody been rotting you?’
    make fun of, poke fun at, chaff, make jokes about, rag, mock, laugh at, guy, satirize, be sarcastic about
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mass noun
  • 1The process of decaying.

    ‘the leaves were turning black with rot’
    • ‘A gust of wind blasts against his face, carrying with it the scent of rot and decay and the suggestion of whispers.’
    • ‘He even asserts that as Noah used only gopher-wood for the ark, it was ‘probably resistant to both rot and termites’.’
    • ‘The products that on paper seemed to be bombproof and virtually inert turned out to be part of a system that propagates mold, mildew, and rot.’
    • ‘Many local museums, and indeed private collectors, store artifacts in less than ideal environments - for example, some storage places are damp and this can encourage rot and rust.’
    • ‘The stench of rot, decay and refuse was thick in the air.’
    • ‘Unlike wood, however, it is completely unaffected by damp, rot, decay, frost or insect attack.’
    • ‘Ryell looked around for something, anything that might be of use, but he saw only the faded gray-blue cushions, the trim of the seats rusted over, the wood black with rot and decay.’
    • ‘Boric acids or boric salts are products which traditionally used to protect buildings that perhaps have already suffered from some rot or decay.’
    • ‘The room itself seemed to have taken on a quality of rot and rust.’
    • ‘Think of composting and worms immediately come to mind, not to mention such unsettling concepts as decay and rot.’
    • ‘The apartment block itself looms as large as any of the human characters with it's faded grandeur and slow decline into decay and rot.’
    • ‘In time the house will begin to show signs of rot, especially where it touches the ground.’
    • ‘The air had a bite to it present only in the fall months; a snap of death that lacked the clean cold of December, filled instead with half-formed aromas of rot and decay.’
    • ‘The air became easier to breath, losing the noxious stench of rot.’
    • ‘The aroma was similar to a death room, with the smell of decay, rot, and disinfectant.’
    • ‘Recent research has shown that cement really just seals moisture in, and thus, promotes a faster rate of internal rot.’
    • ‘Germs and rot were the last things that they needed right now.’
    • ‘Her head was spinning; the smell of rot and decay intensified, swirled in eddies around her.’
    • ‘Inside the Great Mountains of the East it was dark and smelled of death and rot.’
    • ‘While most of the world is obsessed with sell-by dates, freshness and ripeness, the sleepy hamlet of Sauternes sits 30 miles south of Bordeaux, obsessed with rot, decay and fungus.’
    1. 1.1 Rotten or decayed matter.
      • ‘If he sees rot or physical deformities at either end, he uses the grapple saw to snip off a two-foot section.’
      • ‘Stalks with significant rot will crush easily.’
      • ‘As soon as they are rooted from the ground, they will begin to slowly decay and eventually wither into a brown mess of rot.’
      • ‘Splitting the stalk reveals internal discoloration and soft slimy rot mostly initiating at the nodes.’
    2. 1.2usually with modifier Any of a number of fungal or bacterial diseases that cause tissue deterioration, especially in plants.
      • ‘That's because fungal diseases like witches broom and frosty pod rot are devastating cacao crops in Central and South America.’
      • ‘Waiting 5 to 10 days after the fly-safe date ensures escape from fall infections of barley yellow dwarf and lessens the potential of root rot and early season foliar diseases.’
      • ‘Saturated soils also favor root rot of adult plants later in the season.’
      • ‘There was no evidence of any crown and root rot on plants examined during the October surveys.’
      • ‘The tropical climates where T. cacao grows best are also perfect incubators for fungal diseases like black pod, witches' broom, and frosty pod rot.’
      • ‘Witches' broom and monilia pod rot are found only in Central and South America, and the new species of black pod is restricted to Africa.’
      • ‘Charcoal rot is a fungal disease favored by hot, dry weather at this stage in crop development.’
      • ‘In central Nebraska, several fields are severely damaged by anthracnose stalk rot.’
      • ‘Wines made from grapes affected by noble rot tend to have a particularly deep golden colour.’
      • ‘Seed rot and seedling diseases caused by Pythium spp. develop early in the season under cool temperatures and wet soil conditions.’
      • ‘Bacterial stalk rot can affect the plant at any node from the soil surface up to the ear leaves and tassels.’
      • ‘The co-op's aim is to help customers protect against Phytophthora root rot and Rhizoctonia and give plants a better chance to emerge.’
      • ‘The main problem is Rhizoctonia root rot, with heat canker also being reported in some areas.’
      • ‘The next challenge is that the noble rot will not attack all grapes at the same time.’
      • ‘Sclerotinia crown and stem rot is a serious disease threat when seeding alfalfa and clovers in late summer.’
      • ‘As with wheat streak mosaic, we've had a few calls on crown rot causing partial stand loss.’
      • ‘Sclerotinia stalk rot, the most significant sunflower disease in the United States, appears year in, year out, regardless of weather.’
      • ‘Puddles can create ideal conditions for diseases such as root rot, damping off and seedling blight.’
      • ‘Pod and stem blight and Phomopsis seed rot occur throughout Ohio, but are more prevalent in the southern and western regions of the state.’
      • ‘Such antagonism may also protect the corn plant from the E verticillioides disease, stalk rot.’
      decay, decomposition
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    3. 1.3often the rot Liver rot in sheep.
  • 2the rotBritish A process of deterioration; a decline in standards.

    ‘there is enough talent in the team to stop the rot’
    ‘it was when they moved back to the family home that the rot set in’
    • ‘However, many officers doubt it is enough to stop the rot.’
    • ‘The inability of independence to stop the rot has compounded Islamic frustration.’
    • ‘Possibly the rot set in a bit when Dalglish took over, and then when Ruud Gullit failed so badly to revive their fortunes.’
    • ‘We have just seen an excellent example of the rot at the heart of this Government.’
    • ‘Without wanting to sound immodest, they maintain they have arrived to stop the rot in British rock.’
    • ‘To stop the rot, gambling was legalized in 1976 as a means of attracting new visitors and providing resources for urban renewal and associated uplift.’
    • ‘Will the vote fall to a threshold which begins to cost the party safe seats, or can the party stop the rot as it claims?’
    • ‘He first had to determine just how deep the financial rot ran.’
    • ‘However, the imminent release of the Mevira and Signum models will help stop the rot.’
    • ‘Italy struggled for the early years barely getting above 3 centres, but he in turn reached 9 centres in 1911 before the rot set in and elimination arrived in 1919.’
    • ‘You thought the moral rot took hold in the sixties, didn't you?’
    • ‘The rot continued, and the managers were eventually replaced with bankers friendly with the corporate heads.’
    • ‘In a bid to stop the rot, the company has set sweeping price cuts of between 20 and 25 per cent, according to channel reports.’
    • ‘The rot set in, however, when the company realised that they had a hit on their hands, and the second version was rushed into production.’
    • ‘Afraid that the city centre itself was in danger of becoming a ‘no-go’ area, Ford had come to believe that only the shooting of identified ‘ring leaders’ would stop the rot.’
    • ‘In recent years, Camelot has been struggling to curb falling ticket sales, launching a midweek draw in February 1997 in an attempt to stop the rot.’
    • ‘She weighed in on the issue more than a year ago, officially requesting that the Minister's office do something to stop the apparent rot at the company.’
    • ‘"If we bask in false security and drop our guard, the rot spreads, corrupting the entire society.’
    • ‘The ethical rot of highly paid professionals proved even deeper than imagined, with a mutual-fund scandal following scandals in Corporate America and on Wall Street.’
    • ‘In a statement the CWU said that it is ‘vital we stop the rot at an early stage’ or ‘tens of thousands of jobs’ could be lost in the UK.’
    deterioration, decline
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    1. 2.1US Corruption on the part of officials.
      • ‘He admitted yesterday he should have smelt the rot at the core of key planning decisions in the 1990s.’
  • 3British informal Nonsense; rubbish.

    ‘don't talk rot’
    as exclamation ‘‘Rot!’ she said with vehemence’
    • ‘The argument is rot; whenever a publisher lets the authorities bully a journalist in their employ, it puts a chill on the entire business of reporting freely.’
    • ‘The liner notes talk about his adaptation of ‘twelve-tone technique’ to tonality, but this is rot, in my opinion.’
    • ‘The production's claim to introduce ‘logical coherence’ is a lot of rot.’
    • ‘They say it's to incite a new nationalistic spirit or some such rot.’
    • ‘In our school, you're not allowed to climb trees - liabilities and all that rot.’
    • ‘Superstitions were all very well and good if you believed in that kind of thing, from fortune telling to dreams that seemed to foretell the future, but in his opinion, it was all rot.’
    • ‘You've just been in terrible trouble for saying that feminism is all rot and that it went off in the wrong direction.’
    • ‘I don't know anything about any curse, it sounds like a lot of contrived rot to me.’
    • ‘In the hands of lesser songsmiths, such lines would inevitably sound like so much rot, but Gough has a peculiar charm about him that gradually disarms the jaded listener.’
    nonsense, rubbish, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, blather, blether
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Old English rotian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rotten; the noun ( Middle English) may have come via Scandinavian.