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decay

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noun [uncountable] decay pronunciation in British English /dɪˈkeɪ/
  1. 1
    the gradual destruction of something as a result of a natural process of change
    Bacteria cause the decay of dead plants and animals.
    Sweets cause tooth decay.
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  2. 2
    the process by which a building or an area gradually gets into a worse state because it has not been looked after
    urban decay
    fall into decay (=get into a worse state): The farmhouse fell into disuse and decay.
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  3. 3
    the process of becoming gradually worse in quality, or weaker in power or influence
    the social and moral decay of the country

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