decay - definition and synonyms

noun [uncountable] 

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  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.

    1. a.
      the part of something that has gradually been destroyed
  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.

  3. 3
    the process of becoming gradually worse in quality, or weaker in power or influence

    the social and moral decay of the country