Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

deliquesce

\del-ih-KWES\ , intransitive verb;
1.
To melt away or to disappear as if by melting.
2.
(Chemistry) To dissolve gradually and become liquid by attracting and absorbing moisture from the air, as certain salts, acids, and alkalies.
3.
To become fluid or soft with age, as certain fungi.
4.
To form many small divisions or branches -- used especially of the veins of a leaf.
Quotes:
Now it's high summer, the very high point of the high season, and I've just struggled back from Santa Eulalia with the weekly shop, most of which has already deliquesced into an evil-smelling puddle in the back of the car.
-- Paul Richardson, "A postcard from Paul Richardson", Independent, August 19, 1996
His entire countenance seems to deliquesce into a splotch of spreading goo.
-- John Simon, "The Underneath", National Review, May 29, 1995
His indifference toward if not hatred for his mother deliquesced, through the writing of this book, into a recognition of his love for her.
-- Leslie Schenk, "Rouge Decante", World Literature Today, June 1, 1996
The peaches, pears and grapes progressively spot, dimple, crease, wrinkle, acquire brown patches, green bloom, a fuzz of green-grey fungal filaments, deliquesce to a beige-grey Roquefort and finally compost to a browny-black goo flickering with insects.
-- Christopher Hirst, "The weasel", Independent, May 11, 2002
Origin:
Deliquesce comes from Latin deliquescere, from de-, "down, from, away" + liquescere, "to melt," from liquere, "to be fluid." It is related to liquid and liquor.
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