decompositionmedical dictionary

1. The act or process of resolving the constituent parts of a compound body or substance into its elementary parts; separation into constituent part; analysis; the decay or dissolution consequent on the removal or alteration of some of the ingredients of a compound; disintegration; as, the decomposition of wood, rocks, etc.

2. The state of being reduced into original elements.

3. Repeated composition; a combination of compounds. Decomposition of forces. Same as Resolution of forces, under Resolution. Decomposition of light, the division of light into the prismatic colours.

Origin: Pref. De- (in sense 3 intensive) + composition: cf. F. Decomposition. Cf. Decomposition.

(01 Mar 1998)