March 03, 2012
corrode (verb)
\kuh-ROHD\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to eat or be eaten away by degrees as if by gnawing
How do you use it?
We tried to get Grandpa's old go-cart to run again, but moisture had corroded the metal and the parts were too rusty to work properly.
Are you a word wiz?

The link between the Latin word "corrodere," meaning "to gnaw to pieces," and our word "corrode" is pretty clear. Can you guess which answer gives another meaning of "corrode"?

If you picked answer A, you're right! To see the connection between the two meanings of "corrode," think about how something getting eaten away by degrees would gradually weaken and eventually be destroyed. Even though these meanings are connected, we use them in different situations. We use the "eat away" sense of "corrode" to talk about physical things, like metal, that can become corroded over time. When we use the "weaken" sense of "corrode," it is most often to talk about things we can't touch, like feelings or traditions.
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