Printable Version
Pronunciation: ree-kru-des-ênts Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Recurrence, renewal, revival, reappearance.

Notes: This word contains a suffix, -scence, that usually implies "becoming": evanescence, coalescence, convalescence. All of these words come from adjectives on -scent. In fact, in speaking, we add the common English suffix -s to the adjective to create the noun; we just spell these words differently: recrudescence (see Pronunciation above).

In Play: The sense of this word is the appearance of something after a long absence: "The apparent recrudescence of the Cold War mindset is a cause for concern." It applies to the positive as well as the negative: "After 20 years of separation, as soon as she saw him, she could feel a recrudescence of that long dormant affection."

Word History: Recrudesce began its life as a medical term referring only to wounds. It was taken from Latin recrudescere "re-open", literally "become raw again", re- "again" + crudescere "become raw". The latter verb is based on crudus "raw", from which English got crude after French had a go at it. Cruel set out as crudelis in Latin, became crudel, then cruel in Old French, whence English snitched it. Latin crudus came from PIE kreue- "raw flesh, meat", which also produced English raw through its Old Germanic connections. Greek made kreas "flesh" from it, which went into the making of pankreas from pan "all" + kreas, which English borrowed as pancreas. (Our gratitude is due Sue Gold for the recrudescence of her long string of suggested words in today's exceptionally Good One.)

Dr. Goodword,

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