1 : to cause to waste away by or as if by excessive fasting
2 : to cause to become soft or separated into constituent elements by or as if by steeping in fluid; broadly : steep, soak
3 : to soften and wear away especially as a result of being wetted or steeped
I'm fascinated by this juxtaposition of definitions—a word that was once associated with the wasting away of flesh by way of fasting, now more closely linked with soaking berries in wine to both soften the fruit and concoct a sweet syrup. I'd hate to imagine the lovechild—soaking a human in wine to make sweet human syrup...?
In a less incredibly gross way, I think of wrinkly fingers from a bath. Is this a sort of MACERATION? I find out wrinkly (or pruney) fingers are technically a result of vasoconstriction: the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contraction of the muscular wall of the vessels, particularly the large arteries, small arterioles, and veins. Okay. Fair enough.
I see soggy disintegrating newspapers in the gutter, MACERATED from a rainstorm. Industrial porridge.
Or that weird green floral foam. When I was a child I used to press my fingers into it while standing in the fake flower aisle of the craft store, wishing I had enough unobserved time to press and press until the foam entirely disappeared. Somehow this foam is meant to hold water. I still don't understand how it doesn't melt like a sugar cube in a cup of tea.
[The opposite, the UNMACERATED: those little plastic gel caps that grow into dinosaurs or zoo animals when deposited in a bowl of warm water. To be specific, Magic Grow Capsules. Who WHO thought of this? This toy blew my childhood mind. I would watch the expanding dinosaur with the patience of a mosaicist. Glorious, the watched pot that boils, the ability to make something grow before my eyes, the concept of Just Add Water.]
A bowl of cereal abandoned haphazardly to answer a phone call—neglected, soggy, useless. Flushed down a toilet because, really, where else are you going to dispose of it.