Word of the Week 2-6-2018


noun  ob·li·ves·cence  \ ˌäbləˈvesᵊn(t)s \


  1. the process of forgetting.


Even in reasoning, the gratifying confirmatory instance sticks in the mind, while the negative cases all go glimmering into oblivescence.

-H. L. Hollingworth, “The Oblivescence of the Disagreeable,” The Journal of Philosophy Psychology and Scientific Methods, Volume VII, January–December 1910

Would that our sins had built-in qualities of oblivescence such as our dreams have.

-Iris Murdoch, A Word Child197


Oblivescence dates from the late 19th century and is a later spelling of obliviscencewhichdates from the late 18th century. The spelling oblivescence arose by influence of the far more common suffix escenceThe English noun is a derivative of the Latin verb oblīviscī “to forget,” literally “towipe away, smooth over.” The Latin verb is composed of the prefix ob- “away,against” and the same root as the adjective lēvis “smooth.”


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