vi·​res·​cent | \ və-ˈre-sᵊnt How to pronounce virescent (audio) , vī- \

Definition of virescent

1 : beginning to be green : greenish
2 : developing or displaying virescence

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Virescent first appeared in English in 1826. It derives from the present participle of "virescere," a Latin verb meaning "to become green" and a form of another verb, virēre, meaning "to be green." "Virēre" also gave us another adjective meaning green, "verdant," only the route to that adjective takes a stop at the Old French verdoier ("to be green"). "Virescent" has seen occasional general use, as when Thomas Hardy wrote, in his 1881 novel A Laodicean, of "[t]he summer . . . tipping every twig with a virescent yellow." But it is nowadays found most frequently in scientific contexts, especially those pertaining to botany.

First Known Use of virescent

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for virescent

Latin virescent-, virescens, present participle of virescere to become green, inchoative of virēre to be green

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The first known use of virescent was in 1826

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virescent gold

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Cite this Entry

“Virescent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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