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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), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *rutōną (to rot). More at rot.



rotten (comparative rottener or more rotten, superlative rottenest or most rotten)

  1. Of perishable items, overridden with bacteria and other infectious agents.
    If you leave a bin unattended for a few weeks, the rubbish inside will turn rotten.
  2. In a state of decay.
    The floors were damaged and the walls were rotten.
    His mouth stank and his teeth were rotten.
  3. Cruel, mean or immoral.
    That man is a rotten father.
    This rotten policy will create more injustice in this country.
  4. Bad or terrible.
    Why is the weather always rotten in this city?
    It was a rotten idea to take the boat out today.
    She has the flu and feels rotten.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which “rotten” is often applied: wood, food, egg, meat, fruit, tomato, apple, banana, milk, vegetable, stuff, tooth, smell, person, kid, bastard, scoundrel, weather.

Derived terms[edit]



rotten (comparative more rotten, superlative most rotten)

  1. To an extreme degree.
    That kid is spoilt rotten.
    The girls fancy him something rotten.



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Dutch rotten, reformed from earlier roten, from Old Dutch *roton, from Proto-Germanic *rutāną.



  1. to rot, to go bad, to decay
Inflection of rotten (weak)
infinitive rotten
past singular rotte
past participle gerot
infinitive rotten
gerund rotten n
verbal noun
present tense past tense
1st person singular rot rotte
2nd person sing. (jij) rot rotte
2nd person sing. (u) rot rotte
2nd person sing. (gij) rot rotte
3rd person singular rot rotte
plural rotten rotten
subjunctive sing.1 rotte rotte
subjunctive plur.1 rotten rotten
imperative sing. rot
imperative plur.1 rot
participles rottend gerot
1) Archaic.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. Plural form of rot

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


rotten m, f

  1. definite masculine singular of rotte