Printable Version
Pronunciation: æ-jêr-ay-zhê Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Eternal youth, agelessness, not showing any signs of ageing.

Notes: Agerasia is used so seldom that it has not had time to procreate. The adjective based on this noun would be ageratous, following ancient Greek ageratos "not growing old". It might be ageratic should English decide to form its own adjective.

In Play: Today's word is generally used by scientists in speaking of plants and bugs, but we can easily imagine its applying to humans: "Faye Slift spends a fortune for salves, pills, and creams to create the impression of agerasia." Of course, we may use it figuratively, too: "Noah Zarque may be old, but he suffers only from chronic agerasia of the soul."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin agerasia "eternal youth", which was borrowed from Greek agerasia with the same meaning. It is made up of a- "no, without" + geras "old age" + -ia, a nominal suffix. The root of this word also serves to indicate old age in geriatrics. Gerontology is built on geron(t) "old man", which comes from the same root. This root apparently did not spread through the western Indo-European languages, but we find such evidence of it in the eastern ones as Sanskrit járant- "old, old man" and Persian zar "old person".

Dr. Goodword,

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