Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being in a state of putrefaction or decay; decomposed.
  • adj. Having a foul odor resulting from or suggestive of decay; putrid.
  • adj. Made weak or unsound by rot: rotten floorboards.
  • adj. Morally corrupt or despicable: She's rotten to the core.
  • adj. Very bad; wretched: rotten weather.
  • adv. To a very great degree: The child is spoiled rotten.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of perishable items, overridden with bacteria and other infectious agents.
  • adj. In a state of decay.
  • adj. Cruel, mean or immoral.
  • adj. Bad or terrible.
  • adv. To an extreme degree.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Offensive to the smell; fetid; disgusting.
  • adj. Not firm or trusty; unsound; defective; treacherous; unsafe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Undergoing natural decomposition; affected by rot or organic dissolution; putrid (as animal and some vegetable matters), soft (as fruits, etc.), or weak (as vegetable fibers, fabrics, etc.) from elemental decay: as, a rotten carcass or egg; a rotten log or plank; rotten cloth.
  • Putrid from organic decay, or from the presence of decomposing matter; hence, of a putrid quality; ill-smelling; fetid.
  • Affected with the disease called rot, as sheep or other animals.
  • Unsound as if from rotting; in a loose or disintegrated state; soft or friable; yielding: as, rotten iron or stone.
  • Unsound in character or quality; in a corrupt or untrustworthy state; destitute of stability or integrity.
  • In printing, said of bad prints from woodcuts, that show holes and broken lines.
  • n. A dialectal variant of ratten.
  • Good for nothing; trashy; mean; detestable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. damaged by decay; hence unsound and useless
  • adj. very bad
  • adj. having decayed or disintegrated; usually implies foulness

Etymologies

Middle English roten, from Old Norse rotinn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English roten, from Old Norse rotinn ("decayed, rotten"), past participle of an unrecorded verb related to Old Norse rotna ("to rot") and Old English rotian ("to rot"). More at rot. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If it wasn't rotten, _rotten_ luck that he was just off for Paris on government business!

    Shelled by an Unseen Foe

  • The trader had read that the Germans were promoting what he called rotten, low-down, dirty propaganda about sour relations between Americans and First Americans.

    Yellow Dirt

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound father.

    TheBostonChannel.com - News

  • So she's using diet and exercise to try to protect them against what she called rotten genes, including those from their 400-pound (180-kilogram) father.

    Breaking News: CBS News

  • The rotten is really showing at the top! where's the moderates its time you back your president what the world is seeing is the racists, the right wing red necks and its very very ugly.

    Congressman says some people aren't worth peeing on

  • The paper was yellow with age and rotten from the weather-wear of trail, while the text was printed in Russian.

    CHAPTER 16

  • Her well-worn moccasins had gone rotten from the soaking, and a little white toe peeped out at the world of slime.

    CHAPTER 24

  • On either side were rude gods, some grotesquely carved, others no more than shapeless logs swathed in rotten and indescribably filthy matting.

    Chapter 25

  • "Ice rotten from the springs and no sign till you're into it."

    CHAPTER 20

  • When you see Orwellian abuse of language like that, you know something rotten is giving off that smell.

    Teens in “trouble” « Awful Library Books

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "In printing, said of bad prints from woodcuts, that show holes and broken lines." --CD

    April 13, 2011