Word of the Day : February 3, 2019


noun sih-NESS-unss


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

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 (correctly) 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).


"The results revealed that some trees have shorter or longer sleep periods than 12 hours and others show slow continuous movement in one direction probably because of disease or senescence." — ScienceDaily, 20 Apr. 2018

"Until we're all brain patterns on computers, there are still forces that do not bend to our wants, including senescence and death. (You'll talk like this, too, when you hit 40.)" — John Hodgman, The New York Times, 21 Dec. 2018

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a noun that refers to senility as well as the quality of being transitory or perishable: c _ d _ c _ t _.



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