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

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 (correctly) 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 Cellular senescence was discovered by Hayflick and Moorhead in 1961. Gabriel A. Silva, Forbes, 1 Feb. 2022 Your skin can be sent into the senescence phase in several different ways, including internal aggressors (hormonal changes, stress, illness) and external factors like pollution or overexposure to the sun. ELLE, 6 Jan. 2022 The Mellon Longevity Science Programme helps fund the research of Professor Lynne Cox into the senescence of the human immune system. Calum Chace, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2022 The ingredient is said to prevent skin cells from becoming sluggish, which results in dull, tired-looking skin (the fancy word for this phase is senescence). ELLE, 6 Jan. 2022 In an era in which maturity is derided as senescence, good drinks offer a counternarrative. Eric Felten, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 In both sexes, the grandparents benefit from the consequences of that energy allocation that slows senescence, especially those that are related to repair and maintenance. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 24 Nov. 2021 There’s no dithering yet—the senescence is almost undetectable. Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic, 14 Nov. 2021 Alaska trees and shrubs will soon be done with their senescence for 2021. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of senescence was in 1695

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Cite this Entry

“Senescence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for senescence


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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