Definition of semelparous
: reproducing or breeding only once in a lifetime semelparous salmon
semelparous was our Word of the Day on 06/10/2016. Hear the podcast!
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Breaking Down semelparous
The combining form -parous was first used in English by the 17th-century physician and writer Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote about organisms that were multiparous ("producing more than one at a birth"), oviparous ("producing eggs that develop outside the maternal body"), and viviparous ("producing living young instead of eggs from within the body"). The suffix is based on the Latin verb parere, meaning "to give birth to," which is also a relative of the word that gave us parent. Semelparous, the youngest offspring of -parous, was born in 1954. Its other parent is semel, the Latin word for "once."
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