senescence

play
noun se·nes·cence \si-ˈne-sən(t)s\

Definition of senescence

  1. 1 :  the state of being old :  the process of becoming old

  2. 2 :  the growth phase in a plant or plant part (such as a leaf) from full maturity to death

senescent

play \-sənt\ adjective

senescence was our Word of the Day on 02/20/2014. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of senescence from the Web

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.

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

Other Physiology Terms


SENESCENCE Defined for English Language Learners

senescence

play
noun

Definition of senescence for English Language Learners

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


Medical Dictionary

senescence

play
noun se·nes·cence \si-ˈnes-ən(t)s\

Medical Definition of senescence

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


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