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
senescentplay \-sənt\ adjective
senescence was our Word of the Day on 02/20/2014. Hear the podcast!
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).
Origin and Etymology of senescence
senescent, from Latin senescent-, senescens, present participle of senescere to grow old, from sen-, senex old
First Known Use: 1695
SENESCENCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of senescence for English Language Learners
: the state of being old or the process of becoming old
Medical Definition of senescence
: the state of being old : the process of becoming old
Learn More about senescence
Britannica English: Translation of senescence for Arabic speakers
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up senescence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).