[dih-key] /dɪˈkeɪ/

verb (used without object)
to become decomposed; rot:
vegetation that was decaying.
to decline in excellence, prosperity, health, etc.; deteriorate.
Physics. (of a radioactive nucleus) to change spontaneously into one or more different nuclei in a process in which atomic particles, as alpha particles, are emitted from the nucleus, electrons are captured or lost, or fission takes place.
verb (used with object)
to cause to decay or decompose; rot:
The dampness of the climate decayed the books.
decomposition; rot:
Decay made the wood unsuitable for use.
a gradual falling into an inferior condition; progressive decline:
the decay of international relations; the decay of the Aztec civilizations.
decline in or loss of strength, health, intellect, etc.:
His mental decay is distressing.
Also called disintegration, radioactive decay. Physics. a radioactive process in which a nucleus undergoes spontaneous transformation into one or more different nuclei and simultaneously emits radiation, loses electrons, or undergoes fission.
Aerospace. the progressive, accelerating reduction in orbital parameters, particularly apogee and perigee, of a spacecraft due to atmospheric drag.
to decline or cause to decline gradually in health, prosperity, excellence, etc; deteriorate; waste away
to rot or cause to rot as a result of bacterial, fungal, or chemical action; decompose
(intransitive) (physics) Also disintegrate

(intransitive) (physics) (of a stored charge, magnetic flux, etc) to decrease gradually when the source of energy has been removed
the process of decline, as in health, mentality, beauty, etc
the state brought about by this process
decomposition, as of vegetable matter
rotten or decayed matter: the dentist drilled out the decay

(physics) a gradual decrease of a stored charge, magnetic flux, current, etc, when the source of energy has been removed See also time constant
(music) the fading away of a note

late 15c., “to decrease,” from Anglo-French decair, Old North French decair (Old French decheoir, 12c., Modern French déchoir) “to fall, set (of the sun), weaken, decline, decay,” from Vulgar Latin *decadere “to fall off,” from de- (see de-) + Latin cadere “to fall” (see case (n.1)). Meaning “decline, deteriorate” is c.1500; that of “to decompose, rot” is from 1570s. Related: Decayed; decaying.

mid-15c., “deterioration, decline in value,” from decay (v.). Meaning “gradual decrease in radioactivity” is from 1897.

decay de·cay (dĭ-kā’)

v. de·cayed, de·cay·ing, de·cays


Verb To undergo decay.


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