adjective sem·el·pa·rous \ˌse-ˈmel-pə-rəs\

Definition of semelparous

  1. :  reproducing or breeding only once in a lifetime semelparous salmon

semelparous was our Word of the Day on 06/10/2016. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

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."

Origin and Etymology of semelparous

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

First Known Use: 1954

Seen and Heard

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


feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!