semelparous

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

Definition of semelparous

: reproducing or breeding only once in a lifetime
  • semelparous salmon

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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."

Origin and Etymology of semelparous

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


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