Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Florescence

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is florescence. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Florescence refers to a state or period of being in bloom or of flourishing.

// She remarked in her lecture on the florescence of Renaissance art and technology.


“Recently, the bright red fruits of two Titan Arums … have ripened in China National Botanical Garden in China’s capital Beijing. Records showed this is the first time that the plants produced fruits under cultivation in a botanical garden across China. Importantly, unlike other plants, Titan Arum flowers occasionally and its florescence is unpredictable, which makes it even more difficult to harvest its fruits.” — Chen Na, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 20 Oct. 2022

Did You Know?

The flowering of botany as a science in the 18th century produced a garden of English words, mostly adapted from Latin. Florescence is a radiant example, picked from the Latin flōrēscentia, meaning “blossoming.” Botanists used it as a showy word to refer to the blooming of a flower. Less literal types appreciated the word too, and applied florescence to anything that seemed to be thriving or flourishing, as in “the highest florescence of a civilization.” Flōrēscentia bloomed originally from Latin flōr- or flōs, meaning “flower” and “bloom” (among other things), which English has also to thank for flourishfloridflora, and flower itself. The list unfurls bounty; from Florida to Florenceflōr-, flōs descendants thrive in abundance.

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