1. Decomposition of organic matter, especially protein, by microorganisms, resulting in production of foul-smelling matter.
2. An amount of putrefied matter or an odor produced by such matter.
[Middle English putrefaccioun, from Late Latin putrefactiō, putrefactiōn-, from putrefactus, past participle of Latin putrefacere, to make rotten; see PUTREFY.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.