-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.