sem·​el·​pa·​rous | \ ˌse-ˈmel-pə-rəs How to pronounce semelparous (audio) \

Definition of semelparous

: reproducing or breeding only once in a lifetime semelparous salmon

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."

First Known Use of semelparous

1954, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for semelparous

Latin semel once (akin to Latin simul at the same time) + English -parous — more at same

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The first known use of semelparous was in 1954

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Cite this Entry

“Semelparous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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