Intolerable vs Decay - What's the difference?

intolerable | decay |

As an adjective intolerable

is intolerable.

As a noun decay is

the process or result of being gradually decomposed.

As a verb decay is

to deteriorate, to get worse, to lose strength or health, to decline in quality.




(en adjective)
  • Not tolerable; not capable of being borne or endured; not proper or right to be allowed; insufferable; insupportable; unbearable.
  • Extremely offensive or insulting.
  • * 1971 , William S. Burroughs, The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead , page 4
  • It is an intolerable sound that sets spoons tinkling in saucers and windowpanes vibrating.

    Usage notes

    * Nouns to which "intolerable" is often applied: cruelty, burden, situation, condition, pain, heat, position, life, state, suffering, evil, risk, insult, hardship, agony, behavior, affront, insolence, stress, consequence, people.

    Derived terms

    * intolerability * intolerableness * intolerably


    * *



    (wikipedia decay)


  • The process or result of being gradually decomposed.
  • * 1895 , H. G. Wells, The Time Machine Chapter X
  • I fancied at first the stuff was paraffin wax, and smashed the jar accordingly. But the odor of camphor was unmistakable. It struck me as singularly odd, that among the universal decay , this volatile substance had chanced to survive, perhaps through many thousand years.
  • A deterioration of condition.
  • Derived terms

    * bacterial decay * decayability * decayable * decayer * orbital decay * particle decay * radioactive decay


    (en verb)
  • To deteriorate, to get worse, to lose strength or health, to decline in quality.
  • The pair loved to take pictures in the decaying hospital on forty-third street.
  • # (intransitive, electronics, of storage media or the data on them) To undergo , that is, gradual degradation.
  • # (intransitive, computing, of software) To undergo , that is, to fail to be updated in a changing environment,so as to eventually become legacy or obsolete.
  • # (intransitive, physics, of a satellite's orbit) To undergo prolonged reduction in altitude (above the orbited body).
  • 2009 , Francis Lyall, Paul B. Larsen, Space Law: A Treatise , page 120:
  • Damaged on lift-off, Skylab was left in orbit until its orbit decayed .
  • (of organic material) To rot, to go bad.
  • The cat's body decayed rapidly.
  • (intransitive, transitive, physics, chemistry, of an unstable atom) To change by undergoing fission, by emitting radiation, or by capturing or losing one or more electrons.
  • * 2005 , Encyclopedia of Earth Science (edited by Timothy M. Kusky; ISBN 0-8160-4973-4), page 349:
  • Uranium decays to radium through a long series of steps with a cumulative half-life of 4.4 billion years.
  • (intransitive, transitive, physics, of a quantum system) To undergo , that is, to relax to a less excited state, usually by emitting a photon or phonon.
  • (aviation)
  • To cause to rot or deteriorate.
  • The extreme humidity decayed the wooden sculptures in the museum's collection in a matter of years.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Infirmity, that decays the wise.