Good morning, and welcome to the last full week of May! I’m looking forward to June for many reasons, one being that I have started brainstorming some new ideas for this Word of the Day feature – ideas that I will be implementing within the next couple of weeks. For now, this week’s theme for words is a mystery; you can learn more about it here. Enjoy your week!

senescence (suh-NES-uhns)

noun: the process or the state of growing old

From Latin senescere (to grow old), from senex (old). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sen- (old), which is also the ancestor of senior, senate, senile, Spanish señor, sir, sire, and surly (which is an alteration of sirly, as in sir-ly). Earliest documented use: 1695

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“It’s delightful to know that as we old-timers pass into senescence, our rivers will be in capable hands.”
Willem Lange; A Gathering of Wilderness Paddlers; Valley News (White River Junction, Vermont); Mar 8, 2016.

tromometer (tro-MOM-i-tuhr)

noun: an instrument for detecting or measuring faint tremors caused by an earthquake

From Greek tromos (trembling). Earliest documented use: 1878

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“A tromometer being perfectly at rest whilst a heavy gale was blowing round the observatory shows that the connection between two sets of phenomena is not so close as might at first be supposed.”
John Milne; Seismology; Cambridge; 1898.

happenchance (HAP-uhn-chans)

noun: a chance occurrence
adjective: resulting from chance

Alteration of happenstance, a blend of happening + circumstance. Earliest documented use: 1847

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Whether this came from happenchance or a carefully crafted winning formula is not clear.”
Richard Kitheka; Author Jackie Collins Revealed Hollywood Decadence to World; Daily Nation (Nairobi, Kenya); Oct 9, 2015.

natant (NAYT-nt)

adjective: swimming or floating

From Latin natare (to swim). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sna- (to swim or flow), which also gave us Sanskrit snan (bath). Earliest documented use: 1460

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Perhaps no other athlete has been under more pressure to perform at these Games than Freeman. Not Marion Jones in her pursuit of five gold medals. Not Ian Thorpe, the 17-year-old swimming prodigy or any of his natant mates.”
Fran Blinebury; 2000 Sydney Olympic Games; Houston Chronicle; Sep 25, 2000.

succus (SUHK-uhs)

noun: juice; fluid

From Latin succus (juice). Earliest documented use: 1771

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“For this reason, the extract and succus are usually prepared during the months of September and October.”
Hugh Chisholm; Encyclopedia Britannica; 1922.

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