American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


DECA'Y, verb intransitive [Fr. dechoir, from Latin de and cado, to fall, or decedo.]

1. To pass gradually from a sound, prosperous, or perfect state, to a less perfect state, or towards destruction; to fail; to decline; to be gradually impaired. Our bodies decay in old age; a tree decays; buildings decay; fortunes decay

2. To become weaker; to fail; as, our strength decays, or hopes decay

DECA'Y, verb transitive To cause to fail; to impair; to bring to a worse state.

Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make better the fool.

DECA'Y, noun

1. Gradual failure of health, strength, soundness, prosperity, or any species of excellence or perfection; decline to a worse or less perfect state; tendency towards dissolution or extinction; a state of depravation or diminution. Old men feel the decay of the body. We perceive the decay of the faculties in age. We lament the decay of virtue and patriotism in the state. The northern nations invaded the Roman Empire, when in a state of decay

2. Declension from prosperity; decline of fortune.

If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay Leviticus 25:35.

3. Cause of decay

He that plots to be the only figure among ciphers, is the decay of the whole age.