I once encountered an English word that describes something that has aged, because it has been left and forgotten. I am looking to use that word in a sentence now, but I cannot recall it. What word am I looking for? I'm not sure about this but a sentence might start out something like this:

It has been left to ...

I come to think of "rot". But that's not right. The word I'm looking for puts a weight on the act of forgetting or leaving something behind and the aging as a result of passing of time. It does not directly answer what's happening to the object itself (i.e. "rotting"). It puts focus on the cause, not directly on the consequence.

The word has to do with objects. As I recall, the word is about 6+/-1 letters long, and it may contain the letters m, n and e.

Another possible way a sentence might start out is:

The [object] was/is [m... n... e...]

I'm not sure about the order of the letters, or if they were in the word. But I seem to recall at least one m letter.

  • 1
    “Abandoned” comes to mind, but it ticks too few boxes to justify an answer below.
    – Boldewyn
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 14:23
  • 3
    Now it just looks like hangman :D
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:35
  • up for adoption
    – nelomad
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 1:24
  • I just noticed that no-one has said "relic", which doesn't fit with "It has been left to..." but does fit with "The object is a relic" en.wiktionary.org/wiki/relic Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 7:34
  • 1
    How about mothballed?
    – Neil W
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 12:24

13 Answers 13


The word that seemed most appropriate to me when I read this was languish:

  1. to be or become weak or feeble; droop; fade.
  2. to lose vigor and vitality.
  3. to undergo neglect or experience prolonged inactivity; suffer hardship and distress: "to languish in prison for ten years."
  4. to be subjected to delay or disregard; be ignored: "a petition that languished on the warden's desk for a year."

Perhaps, it has been left to molder?

For me, it carries connotations of something that has been intentionally abandoned to progressive decay.

Here's a definition taken from Google:

slowly decay or disintegrate, especially because of neglect

  • 1
    I like the word, but the answer would be a lot more answer-y if you included the definition (and a source for it)....
    – Hellion
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:17
  • Thanks @Hellion, I added my sense of the word and a definition from Google.
    – DWright
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 18:10
  • Looks much better! +1 from me. :-) (I was going to post it as an answer myself if you hadn't beaten me to it.)
    – Hellion
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 18:20

Perhaps you are looking for the word "neglect".

Fail to care for properly:
the old churchyard has been sadly neglected

Or, perhaps "dilapidated":

(Of a building or object) in a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglect:

  • No, that's not it. Maybe I should not have used the word forgotten in my question. I know it has to do with objects. But they may be left to rust intentionally. See what I just did? I used three words to describe the act of leaving the object and the state it ends up in by passing of time. The word I'm looking for was really neat because it sort of expressed it all at once.
    – Samir
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 10:55
  • The word covers both the act of leaving the object and the state which it becomes?
    – Ste
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 12:06
  • I'm not really sure, to be honest. The best I could come up with was oblivion. That nicely portrays the meaning I'm after when I say "forgotten". But that doesn't cover the state of the object, e.g. like being dusty, rusty or deteriorated.
    – Samir
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 12:21
  • dilapidated, perhaps?
    – Ste
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 13:25

It has been left to deteriorate:

VERB [NO OBJECT] Become progressively worse (ODO)

If it is a building I would however use crumble:

VERB [NO OBJECT] 1 Break or fall apart into small fragments, especially as part of a process of deterioration: the plaster started to crumble (ODO)


There is the adjective moribund

The word means to be on the point of death or in terminal decay. It is often used to describe something left unattended.

It has been left moribund - or It has been left to become moribund.

That provides the m and n that you mention in the question.


The first word that comes to my mind is derelict.

adjective: derelict

  1. in a very poor condition as a result of disuse and neglect. "the cities were derelict and dying"
  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. Please remember to cite the source of your reference (the name of the dictionary is usually sufficient). I invite you to take the site tour and review the help center as well.
    – choster
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:33

Wither (or wither away) — Macmillan Dictionary

verb to become weaker or smaller and then disappear

"They worry that honoured traditions will wither."
"Their love was withering away"


"It has been left to depreciate"


"It has been left to pejorate"

Both of these words contain not only the idea of worsening in quality or substance, but also the idea that this is happening with age.


  1. to lessen the value or price of.

Ref dictionary.com


depreciate verb [ I or T ] uk ​ /dɪˈpriː.ʃi.eɪt/ us ​ /dɪˈpriː.ʃi.eɪt/ ​

"to (cause something to) lose value, especially over time..."

Ref: Cambridge

Depreciate is the word in common usage.

If you wanted to be particularly fancy you might use pejorate.


Ref re form: Wikitionary
Ref re definition (pejoration)

noun 1. depreciation; a lessening in worth, quality, etc.


if you are looking for a positive word, to describe when something has been left to acquire qualities which come with age, then mature may be a good fit.

transitive verb : to bring to maturity or completion

: to continue developing to a desired level

Example: Wine and cheese are left to mature with age.


I may not encounter that word again, but if I do I will make sure to note it down. The closest word I could come up with was oblivion.

It has been left to oblivion.

It covers the "forgotten" part, i.e. being unaware of the object's existence. However, this word doesn't feel right. This word is used more widely than the word I'm looking for.

  • 3
    Oblivion is a mass noun, your sentence is not grammatical.
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 12:16
  • 2
    More common usage would be it has been consigned to oblivion
    – Adam
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 14:28

Have you considered "Ruination" or "Desolation"?


The act or process of destroying something.



The condition of a place or thing that has been damaged in such a way that it is no longer suitable for people to live in: the state or condition of being desolate.


You could also use dilapidation, disrepair, or decline,


Something which fits your question can also be said to have been 'left in limbo'.

An uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition: 'the legal battle could leave the club in limbo until next year' (Oxford Dictionaries)


For emphasis I would use God-forsaken:

neglected and miserable in appearance or circumstances

By Merriam-Webster.

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