del·​i·​quesce ˌde-li-ˈkwes How to pronounce deliquesce (audio)
deliquesced; deliquescing

intransitive verb

: to dissolve or melt away
: to become soft or liquid with age or maturity
used of some fungal structures (such as gills)

Did you know?

Deliquesce derives from the prefix de- ("from, down, away") and a form of the Latin verb liquēre, meaning "to be fluid." Things that deliquesce, it could be said, turn to mush in more ways than one. In scientific contexts, a substance that deliquesces absorbs moisture from the atmosphere until it dissolves in the absorbed water and forms a solution. When plants and fungi deliquesce, they lose rigidity as they age. When deliquesce is used in non-scientific contexts, it is often in a figurative or humorous way to suggest the act of "melting away" under exhaustion, heat, or idleness, as in "teenagers deliquescing in 90-degree temperatures."

Examples of deliquesce in a Sentence

a rotting tomato slowly deliquescing in the hot summer sun
Recent Examples on the Web That was sitting out there, in a state of just deliquescing. Daniel A. Gross, The New Yorker, 29 Oct. 2019 Not lumpia Shanghai, spring rolls as skinny as cheroots, the ground pork inside flecked with deliquescing fat. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 15 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deliquesce.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin deliquescere, from de- + liquescere, inchoative of liquēre to be fluid — more at liquid

First Known Use

1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deliquesce was in 1756


Dictionary Entries Near deliquesce

Cite this Entry

“Deliquesce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


del·​i·​quesce ˌdel-ə-ˈkwes How to pronounce deliquesce (audio)
deliquesced; deliquescing
: to dissolve or melt away
especially : to exhibit the behavior of a deliquescent substance
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