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

Definition of deliquesce

intransitive verb

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for deliquesce



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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, "“The World Is, of Course, Insane”," 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, "In Tama’s No-Frills Space, the Filipino Food Is Anything But," 15 June 2017

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

First Known Use of deliquesce

1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deliquesce

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

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The first known use of deliquesce was in 1756

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Cite this Entry

“Deliquesce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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