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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce decomposition (audio)

Dictionary definition of decomposition

The process of breaking down or disintegrating organic matter into simpler substances through various biological, chemical, or physical processes.
"The smell in the forest was a result of the decomposition of organic matter."

Detailed meaning of decomposition

It involves the gradual breakdown of complex compounds and structures into smaller, more basic components. Decomposition occurs naturally as a result of biological activities such as microbial action, enzymatic reactions, and decay. It is an essential part of the natural cycle of life, as it facilitates the recycling and release of nutrients back into the ecosystem. During decomposition, organic matter undergoes chemical changes and transformation, leading to the production of byproducts like gases, heat, and residues. This process can occur in various environments, such as soil, water, or even within the body after death. Overall, decomposition is a fundamental biological process that plays a vital role in the recycling and renewal of organic matter in the natural world.

Example sentences containing decomposition

1. The decomposition of fallen leaves enriches the soil with nutrients.
2. Microorganisms play a crucial role in the process of decomposition.
3. The scientist studied the stages of decomposition in a controlled laboratory setting.
4. Decomposition is an essential step in the composting process.
5. The forensic team analyzed the rate of decomposition to estimate the time of death.
6. The decomposition of food waste in landfills produces methane gas.

History and etymology of decomposition

The noun 'decomposition' is derived from the verb 'decompose,' and both words share a common Latin origin. They trace their roots to the Latin word 'decomponere,' which is a combination of 'de,' signifying 'down,' and 'componere,' meaning 'to put together' or 'to arrange.' This etymology underscores the concept of taking something apart or breaking it down. In the context of 'decomposition,' it specifically refers to the process of breaking down or disintegrating organic matter into simpler substances through various biological, chemical, or physical processes. Thus, the etymology of 'decomposition' vividly reflects its historical association with the idea of dismantling or disassembling complex organic materials into their constituent elements or components.

Quiz: Find the meaning of decomposition

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Further usage examples of decomposition

1. The decomposition of wood can take several years in certain conditions.
2. Decomposition helps to break down dead plant and animal material, returning it to the ecosystem.
3. The artist incorporated natural elements of decomposition into their artwork.
4. Understanding the factors that affect decomposition is important in forensic investigations.
5. The decomposition of organic matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
6. The decomposition of organic matter enriches soil fertility.
7. Microbial activity drives the natural process of decomposition.
8. Environmental factors influence the speed of decomposition.
9. Composting is a sustainable way to facilitate decomposition.
10. Understanding decomposition is vital for ecosystem health.
11. Decomposition is a complex interplay of biological processes.
12. Soil decomposition plays a key role in nutrient cycling.
13. Researchers study the chemistry behind decomposition.
14. Decomposition rates vary in different environmental conditions.
15. Decomposition contributes to carbon release in ecosystems.
16. The decomposition of leaves nourishes the forest floor.
17. Decomposition of waste in landfills generates methane.
18. Decomposition is a crucial part of natural recycling.
19. Decomposition pathways can differ in anaerobic settings.
20. Soil microorganisms drive decomposition in agriculture.
21. The decomposition of dead organisms sustains life cycles.
22. Decomposition models help predict ecosystem changes.
23. Understanding decomposition kinetics aids in waste management.
24. Forest decomposition supports diverse ecosystems.



decay, preservation, maintenance, restoration


ACT 13 (American College Testing), Decay and Degeneration, Environmental Concerns and Ecology

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