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Pronunciation: de-ka'


  1. Destruction of an organic substance by slow combustion or gradual oxidation.
  2. To deteriorate; to undergo slow combustion or putrefaction.
  3. In dentistry, caries.
  4. psychology loss of information registered by the senses and processed into short-term memory.
  5. Loss of radioactivity with time; spontaneous emission of radiation or charged particles or both from an unstable nucleus.

Synonym(s): putrefaction

[L. de, down, + cado, to fall]

See Also: memory

Further information

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.