• WordNet 3.6
    • n putrefaction moral perversion; impairment of virtue and moral principles "the luxury and corruption among the upper classes","moral degeneracy followed intellectual degeneration","its brothels, its opium parlors, its depravity","Rome had fallen into moral putrefaction"
    • n putrefaction (biology) the process of decay caused by bacterial or fungal action
    • n putrefaction a state of decay usually accompanied by an offensive odor
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Putrefaction The act or the process of putrefying; the offensive decay of albuminous or other matter.
    • Putrefaction The condition of being putrefied; also, that which putrefied. "Putrefaction's breath."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n putrefaction The act or process of putrefying; the decomposition of animal and vegetable substances, attended by the evolution of fetid gases. Putrefaction is at present believed to be a result of the activity of organisms of the simplest form — the Schizomycetes. It can therefore take place only when the conditions are favorable for the life and growth of these organisms. A temperature of from 60° to 80° F., a moderate degree of humidity, and limited access of air are the conditions most favorable to putrefaction. Extremes of heat and cold, salt, sugar, vinegar, carbolic acid, corrosive sublimate, and other antiseptics prevent putrefaction by destroying or rendering inactive the organisms which induce it. The chemical changes in a putrefying body are most complex. From proteid bodies are formed leucin, tyrosin, a considerable number of alkaloids, the ptomaïnes, compound ammonias, hydrogen sulphid, and many other solid and gaseous products. See fermentation, and germ theory (under germ).
    • n putrefaction Putrefied matter.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Putrefaction the act or process of putrefying: rottenness: corruption
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. putrefactio,: cf. F. putréfaction,. See Putrefy
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. putrefier—L. putrefacĕre, to make putrid—puter, putris, rotten.


In literature:

The animal always dies of putrefaction.
"Cattle and Their Diseases" by Robert Jennings
The sun, which beats upon these hills of filth, exhales the putrefaction from them.
"Perils and Captivity" by Charlotte-Adélaïde [née Picard] Dard
It has been supposed by many that the light of the moon promotes putrefaction.
"Farm drainage" by Henry Flagg French
By these means they have unknowingly lessened the evil consequences of intestinal putrefaction.
"The World's Greatest Books - Volume 15 - Science" by Various
He killed lizards for manure, and with them and leaves he made a little dung-heap, which he watered, to assist putrefaction.
"The Privateer's-Man" by Frederick Marryat
By a mixture of fixed air I have made wholesome the residuum of air generated by putrefaction only, from mice plunged in water.
"Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air" by Joseph Priestley
Fermentation and putrefaction evidently produce living animals.
"Ancient and Modern Celebrated Freethinkers" by Charles Bradlaugh, A. Collins, and J. Watts
In neglected cases, with death and putrefaction of the fetus and dryness of the passages, it may be necessary to extract in pieces.
"Special Report on Diseases of Cattle" by U.S. Department of Agriculture
My Indians now discovered the corpse, which was already in a state of putrefaction.
"Adventures in the Philippine Islands" by Paul P. de La Gironière
They were hideous, meaningless, hellish grins, the grins of corpses in the last stage of putrefaction.
"Byways of Ghost-Land" by Elliott O'Donnell
I knew about putrefaction, though!
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Karl recoiled from the odor of putrefaction that immediately filled the compartment.
"Astounding Stories of Super-Science, December 1930" by Various
Putrefaction is always to be apprehended when the souls are consigned to us in the usual way.
"Devil Stories" by Various
Near her lay several dead and mutilated bodies, in a state of putrefaction.
"Memoirs of the Extraordinary Military Career of John Shipp" by John Shipp
In both cases it is believed that poisonous products have been formed by bacteria, probably by some of the putrefactive forms.
"Outlines of dairy bacteriology" by H. L. Russell
It is also found in horse's liver, being one of the putrefaction products of tyrosine.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 6" by Various
Now there struck upon my nostrils a most horrible stench as of death and putrefaction.
"The Induna's Wife" by Bertram Mitford
All these bodies were so dried by the heat of the sun, that putrefaction appears not to have taken place after death.
"Principles of Geology" by Charles Lyell
Or the milk may contain the microoerganisms which bring about fermentation or putrefaction.
"Dietetics for Nurses" by Fairfax T. Proudfit
Salt is one of the principal agents in preserving all kinds of meats against putrefaction.
"Nature's Miracles, Volume 1" by Elisha Gray