Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-esce Also -escent, -escence, and -escency.

Forming verbs, often denoting the initiation of an action.

[Verbs in -esce are from or suggested by Latin verbs ending in -escere; adjectives in -escent are from French or Latin -escent- (the present participial stem of verbs ending in -escere); nouns in -escence derive from the related French -escence or Latin -escentia.]

Examples of the verb include coalesce, convalesce, effervesce, fluoresce, and phosphoresce. In some cases the sense has shifted away from that of its Latin precursor: acquiesce means to accept something reluctantly but without protest, but its Latin original implies an active change of state, ‘to put at rest’ (ad-, to or at, plus quiescere, to rest).

The ending -escent forms adjectives related to the verbs: deliquescent, effervescent, incandescent, phosphorescent. In some cases adjectives derive instead from verbs ending in -fy; frutescent (fructify); putrescent (putrefy); tumescent (tumefy). A few adjectives, such as adolescent, can also be nouns. The ending -escence forms nouns that correspond to the adjectives or verbs or both: adolescence, convalescence, excrescence, fluorescence, luminescence, obsolescence, putrescence, senescence.

A few nouns in -escency exist: effervescency, quiescency, but they are much less common than the equivalents in -ence.

Visit Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words site for 2000+ articles on English!

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Page last updated 23 September 2008.
Your comments and suggestions on the site are very welcome.