Word of the Day : June 10, 2016

semelparous

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adjective seh-MEL-puh-rus

Definition

: reproducing or breeding only once in a lifetime

Did You Know?

The combining form -parous was first used in English by the 17th-century physician and writer Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote about organisms that were multiparous ("producing more than one at a birth"), oviparous ("producing eggs that develop outside the maternal body"), and viviparous ("producing living young instead of eggs from within the body"). The suffix is based on the Latin verb parere, meaning "to give birth to," which is also a relative of the word that gave us parent. Semelparous, the youngest offspring of -parous, was born in 1954. Its other parent is semel, the Latin word for "once."


Examples

The article's author is a scientist who spent years studying semelparous butterflies.

"[The century plant's] common name derives from its semelparous nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life." — Fred Whitley, The St. Augustine (Florida) Record, 3 Oct. 2014



Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to create a word related to Latin parere (meaning "to produce") that can refer to a theater company: r _ _ er _ _ ry.

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