De*cay" (?), v. i. [imp. & p.
p. Decayed (?); p. pr. & vb. n.
Decaying.] [OF. decaeir, dechaer,
decheoir, F. déchoir, to decline, fall, become
less; L. de- + cadere to fall. See Chance.]
To pass gradually from a sound, prosperous, or perfect state, to
one of imperfection, adversity, or dissolution; to waste away; to
decline; to fail; to become weak, corrupt, or disintegrated; to rot;
to perish; as, a tree decays; fortunes decay; hopes
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.
De*cay", n. 1.
Gradual failure of health, strength, soundness, prosperity, or
of any species of excellence or perfection; tendency toward
dissolution or extinction; corruption; rottenness; decline;
deterioration; as, the decay of the body; the decay of
virtue; the decay of the Roman empire; a castle in
Perhaps my God, though he be far before, Herbert.
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more -
May strengthen my decays.
His [Johnson's] failure was not to be ascribed to
intellectual decay. Macaulay.
Which has caused the decay of the consonants to
follow somewhat different laws. James Byrne.
2. Destruction; death. [Obs.]
3. Cause of decay. [R.]
He that plots to be the only figure among ciphers, is
the decay of the whole age. Bacon.
Syn. -- Decline; consumption. See Decline.
De*cay", v. t. 1.
To cause to decay; to impair. [R.]
Infirmity, that decays the wise.
2. To destroy. [Obs.] Shak.