decay-n; 4 Senses

Sense Number 1: a gradual process of deterioration, ruin

Commentary: DECAY[+process][+gradual][+deterioration][+physical/+social]
NOTE: can be a nominalization - the decay of his teeth -> his teeth decayed

Fluoride is supposed to help prevent the decay of teeth. (refers to the process)
The preacher warned of the moral decay threatening our youth.
The ancient temple was in an advanced state of decay when they discovered it.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 4

Sense Number 2: gradual decrease in the strength of a signal

Commentary: DECAY[+process][+gradual][+decrease][+strength][+signal]
NOTE: refers to a dying away of a signal, e.g., acoustic or electromagnetic

The decay of acoustic signals is proportional to the inverse of the distance squared.
This electric current exhibits an exponential decay. (decreasing in power)

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2

Sense Number 3: organic rot

Commentary: DECAY[+entity][+organic][+rot]
NOTE: refers to actual instance of rotten things, -not- the process of deterioration.

The new plants were nourished by the layer of decay on top of them.
The dentist removed a pocket of decay from John's molar.
The corpses on the battlefield had become a biohazard of decay and disease.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 3

Sense Number 4: gradual radioactive disintegration of atomic nuclei

Commentary: DECAY[+process][+gradual][+disintegration][+radioactive]

The half-life of carbon-14's decay makes it useful to determine the age of fossils.
They detected the emission of alpha particles during radioactive decay of the isotope.
The was a beta decay problem on the nuclear engineering midterm exam.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 5