senile

play
adjective se·nile \ˈsē-ˌnī(-ə)l also ˈse-\

Definition of senile

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, exhibiting, or characteristic of old age senile weakness; especially :  exhibiting a loss of cognitive abilities (such as memory) associated with old age

  2. 2 :  approaching the end of a geological cycle of erosion

senilely

play \-ˌnī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb

Examples of senile in a Sentence

  1. Every time I got a government job, I always felt obligated to tell the authorities that I had this mother who had probably been a Communist. It was an annoying piece of baggage. Then eventually she became senile and forgot about politics and actually became very benign. —Larissa MacFarquhar, New Yorker, 10 Dec. 2001

  2. There appears to be little common ground between those who see the paintings [Willem de Kooning's late works] in question as a sublime achievement, a late style comparable to the cut-paper masterpieces of the aging Matisse, and those who describe them as the senile doodlings of a once great artist whose reputation is being damaged for the sake of commercial exploitation. —Calvin Tomkins, New Yorker, 10 Feb. 1997

  3. Franco himself, during the final months of his life, had become a senile, quaking octogenarian. —John A. Crow, Spain: The Root and the Flower, (1963) 1985

  4. a senile man in his eighties

  5. Her mother is becoming senile.

Recent Examples of senile from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of senile

Latin senilis, from sen-, senex old, old man


First Known Use: 1661


SENILE Defined for English Language Learners

senile

play
adjective

Definition of senile for English Language Learners

  • : showing a loss of mental ability (such as memory) in old age


Medical Dictionary

senile

play play
adjective se·nile \ˈsēn-ˌīl also ˈsen-\

Medical Definition of senile

  1. 1:  of, relating to, exhibiting, or characteristic of old age senile weakness; especially :  exhibiting a loss of cognitive abilities (as memory) associated with old age

  2. 2:  being a cell that cannot undergo mitosis and is in the stage of declining functional capacities prior to the time of death senile red blood cells



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the point at which something begins

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!