Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sensory Word of the Week

The Cambridge Dictionary defines efflorescence as "the period when flowers start to appear on a plant." According to, the word has Latin roots. Efflorescere means "to bloom," and flor means "flower." The word flourish comes from the same routes. offers broader definitions of this concept of blossoming, definitions that go beyond the garden. Efflorescence is also a chemistry terms that refers to "a process that occurs when something changes to a powder from loss of water or crystallization." Ultimately, efflorescence refers to "fullness of manifestation." It denotes profuse and high-quality production of art, creative ideas, culture, etc. Generally, it's a very positive concept. However, the late great poetry legend Edgar Allan Poe painted efflorescence in a bit of a different light.

Late in his life Poe wrote an essay called "The Poetic Principle" in which he expresses his thoughts on poetry and how it is created. In this essay, Poe spoke of an "efflorescence of language," referring to words and phrases that were "flowery, or overly rich and colorful," according to He apparently thought that the good use of language had gone too far.

Nonetheless, efflorescence in nature is something that engages the senses. Few things make me more content than observing buds slowly open their petals and develop into bright bursts of color.

This Wednesday's Word of the Week is the third in a series of words that end in escent or escence and engage the senses. If there any words you would like to see featured in this series, please share!

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