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 senescent (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

Over time, as animals age, more and more cells enter senescence, a process that's thought to contribute to aging. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Drugs that kill off old cells may limit a body’s aging," 10 July 2018 These seemingly unrelated features of senescence are manifestations of a common underlying phenomenon: declining bioresilience. WSJ, "Is There a Limit to the Human Lifespan?," 24 June 2018 Rarely before has the senescence of this Senate — which, with an average age of 63, is the oldest in history — been so apparent. Nash Jenkins, Time, "The Mark Zuckerberg vs. Ted Cruz Showdown Was the Most Explosive Part of Today's Facebook Testimony," 10 Apr. 2018 What abides is a giddy awareness of history as a tale told by unreliable narrators, as well as the oddly comforting impression that senescence has its own poetic license. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Screwball Eggheads Tear Up the Library in ‘Travesties’," 24 Apr. 2018 While every sport has examples of athletes who seem infuriatingly immune to senescence, Bernard Lagat is in another league entirely. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "In Praise of Bernard Lagat," 3 Apr. 2018 The fourth book, Tehanu, was published some 18 years later, in 1990, and features two of the cycle’s main characters, Ged and Tenar, in their senescence. Ryu Spaeth, New Republic, "An Education Through Earthsea," 6 Feb. 2018 Yet Kalanick’s public persona does not mesh with the notion of a quiet senescence, maybe sprinkled with a few guest lectures before MBA classes. Irv Schenkler, Fortune, "How Uber’s Travis Kalanick Can Make a Comeback," 22 June 2017

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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The first known use of senescence was in 1695

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English Language Learners Definition of senescence

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


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

Comments on senescence

What made you want to look up senescence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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