Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Virescent

virescent [vahy-res-uh nt, vi-]
1. tending to a green colour; slightly greenish.
2. beginning to be green


It was enclosed by low hills whose sides were covered with the tree-ferns; their feathery fronds clothed them as though they were the breasts of gigantic birds of Paradise; threw themselves up from them like fountains; soared over them like vast virescent wings. (A Merritt, Dwellers in the Mirage)

In this case the petals were virescent, and the stamens and pistils were entirely absent, hence in truth, the so-called flower more nearly resembled a branch. (Maxwell T Masters, Vegetable Teratology: An Account of the Principal Deviations from the Usual Construction of Plants)

These days, we rarely stand in awe of the virescent landscape, too busy marveling at the miraculous devices that allow us to trade our physical realities for virtual ones - devices that, as much as they have empowered us, keep us indoors and tethered to technology, gazing with reverence at our own greatest inventions. (Jennifer Stitt, The philosophy of wonder, The Week, Oct 2019)


1820–30; Latin virēscent- (stem of virēscēns, present participle of virēscere to become green), equivalent to vir(ēre) to be green + -ēscent- (Online Etymological Dictionary)

Virescent first appeared in English in 1826. It derives from the present participle of virescere, a Latin verb meaning 'to become green' and a form of another verb, virēre, meaning 'to be green.' Virēre also gave us another adjective meaning green, 'verdant,' only the route to that adjective takes a stop at the Old French verdoier ('to be green'). 'Virescent' has seen occasional general use, as when Thomas Hardy wrote, in his 1881 novel A Laodicean, of '[t]he summer... tipping every twig with a virescent yellow.' But it is nowadays found most frequently in scientific contexts, especially those pertaining to botany. (Merriam-Webster)

Tags: adjective, latin, old french, v, wordsmith: sallymn

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