c. 1400, putrefaccioun, "process of decomposition of organic matter," from Old French putrefaction (14c.), from Latin putrefactionem (nominative putrefactio), noun of action from past-participle stem of putrefacere "to make rotten," from putrere "to be rotten" (see putrid) + facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). By early 15c. as "that which is putrid or decomposed." Putrification sometimes also is used. Related: Putrefactive.
updated on February 16, 2021