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adjective se·nile \ˈsē-ˌnī(-ə)l also ˈse-\

Simple Definition of senile

  • : showing a loss of mental ability (such as memory) in old age

Full Definition of senile

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, exhibiting, or characteristic of old age <senile weakness>; especially :  exhibiting a loss of cognitive abilities (as memory) associated with old age

  2. 2 :  approaching the end of a geological cycle of erosion

se·nile·ly play \-ˌnī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb

Examples of senile

  1. Every time I got a government job, I always felt obligated to tell the authorities that I had this mother who had probably been a Communist. It was an annoying piece of baggage. Then eventually she became senile and forgot about politics and actually became very benign. —Larissa MacFarquhar, New Yorker, 10 Dec. 2001

  2. There appears to be little common ground between those who see the paintings [Willem de Kooning's late works] in question as a sublime achievement, a late style comparable to the cut-paper masterpieces of the aging Matisse, and those who describe them as the senile doodlings of a once great artist whose reputation is being damaged for the sake of commercial exploitation. —Calvin Tomkins, New Yorker, 10 Feb. 1997

  3. Franco himself, during the final months of his life, had become a senile, quaking octogenarian. —John A. Crow, Spain: The Root and the Flower, (1963) 1985

  4. a senile man in his eighties

  5. Her mother is becoming senile.

Origin of senile

Latin senilis, from sen-, senex old, old man

First Known Use: 1661

Medical Dictionary


play play
adjective se·nile \ˈsēn-ˌīl also ˈsen-\

Medical Definition of senile

  1. 1:  of, relating to, exhibiting, or characteristic of old age <senile weakness>; especially :  exhibiting a loss of mental faculties associated with old age

  2. 2:  being a cell that cannot undergo mitosis and is in the stage of declining functional capacities prior to the time of death <senile red blood cells>

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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