Definition of decay noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈkeɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈkeɪ//
    [uncountable] How a building looks
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  1. 1  the process or result of being destroyed by natural causes or by not being cared for (= of decaying) tooth decay The landlord had let the building fall into decay. The smell of death and decay hung over the town. The decay of the wood will spread if it is not removed. See related entries: How a building looks
  2. 2  the gradual destruction of a society, an institution, a system, etc. economic/moral/urban decay the decay of the old industries
  3. Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French decair, based on Latin decidere ‘fall down or off’, from de- ‘from’ + cadere ‘fall’.Extra examples Bacteria stick to food debris in the teeth, causing decay. My dentist could not find any signs of decay. Smoking accelerates age-related decay in the heart and arteries. The derelict buildings are the signs of a town in decay. The wood is treated with preservative to prevent decay. This government promises to reverse industrial decay. Without a lot of money, the mayor won’t be able to stop urban decay. old buildings that had fallen into decay the slow decay of the castle and the surrounding buildings
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: decay

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