I remember reading "Light in August" in high school and there was a word that meant something like, grown to the point of rotting. Faulkner was talking about the intensity of the foliage and how full it was at the end of summer. Prurient is what keeps coming to mind but that isn't even slightly correct.

Fecund but rank? Virile but spoiled? The taste of an avocado a day past it's prime?


A word that must be said with a southern drawl would be putrefaction. I would say putrid or rotten more likely.

  • Putrid! But of couse. Prurient - putrid. That must be it. – Talia Ford Sep 26 '13 at 4:34
  • I don't think this is correct, but it's a good answer. When I've got time I guess I'll just have to go reread it. I'll check back if I ever figure it out! – canisrufus Sep 28 '13 at 18:33

I can't think of anything sounding even close to prurient, but these might be helpful, even if not to OP directly:

frowsy/frowsty/fusty (having a stale and moldy smell);
fetid (sounds like 'fecund', but describes an extremely foul smell, as of decay).

However, I can think of a phrase that comes close-ish:

go to seed (run to seed)


a. Lit. (For a plant) to grow long enough to produce seed.
Plants like that ought not to be allowed to go to seed.
The lettuce went to seed and we couldn't eat it.

b. Fig. (For a plant or a lawn) to produce seeds because it has not had proper care.
You've got to mow the grass. It's going to seed.
Don't let the lawn go to seed. It looks so—seedy!


Fig. (For something) to decline in looks, status, or utility due to lack of care.
This old coat is going to seed. Have to get a new one.
The front of the house is going to seed. Let's get it painted.

I won't mention rancid, because you must've already thought of it.


I would prefer the term overripe or decay for avocado and for most other things you suggest.

The word putrefaction makes me want to puke.

protected by NVZ Jun 23 '17 at 7:38

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