senescence

noun
se·​nes·​cence | \ si-ˈne-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce senescence (audio) \

Definition of senescence

1 : the state of being old : the process of becoming old
2 : the growth phase in a plant or plant part (such as a leaf) from full maturity to death

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Other Words from senescence

senescent \ si-​ˈne-​sᵊnt How to pronounce senescence (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Senescence can be traced back to Latin senex, meaning "old." Can you guess which other English words come from senex? Senile might come to mind, as well as senior. But another one might surprise you: senate. This word for a legislative assembly dates back to ancient Rome, where the Senatus was originally a council of elders composed of the heads of patrician families. There's also the much rarer senectitude, which, like senescence, refers to the state of being old (specifically, to the final stage of the normal life span).

Examples of senescence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In an extreme sign of aging called cellular senescence, cells permanently lose the ability to divide. Matthew Steinhauser, The Conversation, "Why do older people heal more slowly?," 24 Nov. 2020 All of these factors amplify the pressure to keep America’s nuclear plants running into their senescence—and to spend as little money on maintenance and upgrades as possible. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "America’s green energy hopes hinge on propping up aging nuclear plants," 19 Dec. 2020 According to a new study published last week in Science, the autumnal senescence of leaves might counterintuitively occur sooner in the season as climate change progresses. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Climate change is affecting fall foliage, but not in the way you think," 30 Nov. 2020 When trees lived in shade, their fall senescence was delayed by more than a week. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Climate change is affecting fall foliage, but not in the way you think," 30 Nov. 2020 Some of these byproducts can even accelerate senescence in neighboring cells. Matthew Steinhauser, The Conversation, "Why do older people heal more slowly?," 24 Nov. 2020 While this thinning wouldn’t exactly be programmed senescence,the cambium could eventually become too thin to function and kill the tree. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Trees Live for Thousands of Years, but Can They Cheat Death? Not Quite," 30 July 2020 The super-old trees’ growth had slowed to a crawl, to be sure, but the cells showed no signs of senescence, which is not quite death but causes cells to stop dividing and eventually results in a loss of function. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Trees Live for Thousands of Years, but Can They Cheat Death? Not Quite," 30 July 2020 The researchers compared cells extracted from between the tree wood and bark and found that there was no change in the expression of genes related to biological aging, called senescence. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Some trees can live for more than 1,000 years and scientists may have figured out why," 14 Jan. 2020

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

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First Known Use of senescence

1695, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for senescence

senescent, from Latin senescent-, senescens, present participle of senescere to grow old, from sen-, senex old

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Time Traveler for senescence

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The first known use of senescence was in 1695

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Last Updated

1 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Senescence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/senescence. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for senescence

senescence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of senescence

technical + formal : the state of being old or the process of becoming old

senescence

noun
se·​nes·​cence | \ si-ˈnes-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce senescence (audio) \

Medical Definition of senescence

: the state of being old : the process of becoming old

More from Merriam-Webster on senescence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for senescence

Britannica English: Translation of senescence for Arabic Speakers

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