Word of the Day : October 2, 2016


verb del-ih-KWESS


1 : to dissolve or melt away

2 : to become soft or liquid with age or maturity—used of some fungal structures (as the gills of a mushroom)

Did You Know?

Deliquesce derives from the prefix de- ("from, down, away") and a form of the Latin verb liquēre, meaning "to be fluid." Things that deliquesce, it could be said, turn to mush in more ways than one. In scientific contexts, a substance that deliquesces absorbs moisture from the atmosphere until it dissolves in the absorbed water and forms a solution. When plants and fungi deliquesce, they lose rigidity as they age. When deliquesce is used in non-scientific contexts, it is often in a figurative or humorous way to suggest the act of "melting away" under exhaustion, heat, or idleness, as in "teenagers deliquescing in 90-degree temperatures."


"'Number Nine,' a 16-minute bonbon of a ballet …, keeps its yellow-clad ensemble and four principal couples wheeling through kaleidoscopic patterns that surprise as they smoothly crystallize and deliquesce, sometimes matching the musical rhythms, sometimes working against them." — Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, 26 Sept. 2012

"But wait. If you have the brisket, will there be room for the beef rib? There'd better be, because it is a triumph. The salt-and-pepper-coated smoked meat and fat deliquesce into a sort of beef confit." — Mark Vamos, The Dallas Morning News, 25 Dec. 2015

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to create an adjective derived from Latin liquēre that is synonymous with wordy: p _ _ li _.



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