v. rot·ted, rot·ting, rots
1. To undergo decomposition, especially organic decomposition; decay. See Synonyms at decay.
a. To become damaged, weakened, or useless because of decay: The beams had rotted away.
b. To disappear or fall by decaying: One could see the blackened areas where the branches had rotted off.
3. To deteriorate through neglect or inactivity; languish or decline: "He upset Alice by calling Washington ... a sink of boredom and saying he was rotting there" (John Dos Passos).
4. To decay morally; become degenerate.
To cause to decompose or decay.
1. The process of rotting or the condition of being rotten: The rot spread quickly, rendering the bridge unsafe even for pedestrians.
2. Foot rot.
3. Any of several plant diseases characterized by the breakdown of tissue and caused by various bacteria, fungi, or oomycetes.
4. Pointless talk; nonsense: She always talks such rot.
5. Archaic Any of various diseases causing the decay of flesh.
[Middle English roten, from Old English rotian.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.