con·​va·​lesce | \ ˌkän-və-ˈles How to pronounce convalesce (audio) \
convalesced; convalescing

Definition of convalesce

intransitive verb

: to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness He is convalescing from influenza.

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Other Words from convalesce

convalescence \ ˌkän-​və-​ˈle-​sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce convalescence (audio) \ noun
convalescent \ ˌkän-​və-​ˈle-​sᵊnt How to pronounce convalescent (audio) \ adjective or noun

Synonyms for convalesce


come back, gain, heal, mend, pull round [chiefly British], rally, recoup, recover, recuperate, snap back

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When you convalesce, you heal or grow strong after illness or injury, often by staying off your feet. (The related adjective convalescent means "recovering from sickness or debility," and a "convalescent home" is a hospital for long-term recuperation and rehabilitation.) The word convalesce derives from Latin, from the prefix com- ("with, together, jointly") and the verb "valescere" ("to grow strong"). "Valescere," in turn, is related to the verb "valēre" ("to be strong or be well"), which is also an ancestor of "prevail," "valor," "value," and "valid."

Examples of convalesce in a Sentence

He is convalescing from his leg injuries. the long months that the soldier spent in the hospital slowly convalescing

Recent Examples on the Web

Also, more than 220 holiday food baskets were delivered to needy residents and families, and 934 subsidized meals went to some of the elderly, disabled and convalescing adults in Westlake, thanks to Meals on Wheels. Carol Kovach,, "River Days, Bay Days offer summertime fun: West Shore Chatter," 2 July 2019 This includes the elderly and individuals who are temporarily ill, convalescing, disabled or home bound., "Local Meals on Wheels thrives on clients, volunteers, but seek more: Olmsted Dates and Data," 24 June 2019 Youth soccer team members rescued more than two weeks after sudden flooding trapped them in a cave complex in Thailand are now convalescing at a hospital in the northern city of Chiang Rai. Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American, "Rescued Thai Boys Being Watched for Illnesses Caught from Cave Animals," 10 July 2018 Though convalescing from oral surgery and bouts with mental illness at Tucker’s Sanatorium in Richmond, Nell Lewis did not let this attack on academic freedom pass silently. Longreads, "Nell Battle Lewis, Storyteller for Jim Crow," 25 May 2018 After being picked up and dusted off by Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool returns to the X-Mansion to convalesce. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Deadpool 2 Is What All Sequels Should Be: Better Than Its Predecessor," 17 May 2018 Trump was preparing to depart the White House for the Walter Reed medical center, where is wife Melania is convalescing after a kidney procedure, when the initial statement warning against joint military exercises emerged on Tuesday afternoon. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "White House scrambles to interpret North Korea summit threat," 16 May 2018 My husband was barely holding it all together, running the new business, trying to keep up with the bills, and catering to a convalescing wife. Aileen Weintraub, Glamour, "My High-Risk Pregnancy Almost Plunged Me Into Financial Ruin," 11 May 2018 The patient, after two weeks of convalescing at the hospital returned home, lighter, healthier and more mobile. Nicholas Rondinone,, "Connecticut Woman's Rare 132-Pound Tumor Removed In Lifesaving Surgery," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'convalesce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of convalesce

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for convalesce

Latin convalescere, from com- + valescere to grow strong, from valēre to be strong, be well — more at wield

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Statistics for convalesce

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for convalesce

The first known use of convalesce was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for convalesce



English Language Learners Definition of convalesce

: to become healthy and strong again slowly over time after illness, weakness, or injury


con·​va·​lesce | \ ˌkän-və-ˈles How to pronounce convalesce (audio) \
convalesced; convalescing

Kids Definition of convalesce

: to regain health and strength gradually after sickness or injury


intransitive verb
con·​va·​lesce | \ ˌkän-və-ˈles How to pronounce convalesce (audio) \
convalesced; convalescing

Medical Definition of convalesce

: to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness

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More from Merriam-Webster on convalesce

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with convalesce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for convalesce

Spanish Central: Translation of convalesce

Nglish: Translation of convalesce for Spanish Speakers

Comments on convalesce

What made you want to look up convalesce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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