Friday, March 05, 2010

neologistic challenge

In demography, we spend a lot of time thinking about how the risk of dying increases with age. Economics calls itself the dismal science, demography is the morbid science. Anyway, we call the increase in mortality risk with age in adults "senescence", from the Latin root senex (old). I prefer to think and write about the fact that mortality rate decreases with age in those who are not yet adults. My problem is that there is no word equivalent to senescence that mean this, so I have to invent one.

So I want a word that can be defined as "the decline in mortality risk with age from conception to maturity." A root that means improvement, growth, blossoming, development, growing up, or something along those lines would be best. Twelve points for whoever comes up with the best term.

13 comments:

gml said...

That's a hard one. The opposite of sen- is juven-. Juvenescence would mean becoming young, which is not what you want, and is used in the cosmetics industry. Juvenance and juvenation are perhaps OK, but are also used in the cosmetics trade, and do not give the sense of decreasing risk. Something like flowering/blooming/getting ready to bear fruit is closer, but you do not just want maturation, you want becoming sturdier and less at risk while maturing. Something from literature or gardening might work; I will search and think. JTE might have some gardening ideas. GML

jte said...

I don't have a gardening idea, but what of working from a base of "vitality" or "resilience"?

Karen said...

fortiflorescence
invulneration
verifortation
fortijuvenation
eumaturity

OK

Love, Mom

Karen said...

There is also the already-existing term "melioration" meaning improvement. Love, Mom

Dan Levitis said...

I'm thinking maybe salogenesis.

gml said...

Hmm. There is already salutogenesis, which is a medical approach of emphasizing factors that promote health, such as diet, exercise, low stress, etc. Perhaps salescence or salutescence? Both sound odd, though. GML

jte said...

GML says, "Both sound odd, though." Har har! As opposed to the other suggestions on the table? :)

Karen said...

How about Jocelyn? It is easy to say, and Nori likes it.

gml said...

The Hebrew name Ethan means firm or strong; I propose ethanescent, becoming sturdy and thus less likely to die. If one is ethanescent, one is not likely to be evanescent. GML
P.S. There is already the term magainin, based on the Hebrew word for shield, which refers to a type of chemical which protects amphibians (and other organisms?) from infections. GML

Dan Levitis said...

Meliogenesis?

Dan Levitis said...

I have it now, ontogenescence. Nori might not like it as much as Jocelyn, but others may find its meaning clearer.

Karen said...

ontogenescence is a nice word, but I would wonder if people would mix it up with ontogenesis? Love, Mom

gml said...

Pretty good, but none of these suggestions, mine included, suggest the left (rising) side of an inverted vee, the crescendo of good health before the inevitable diminuendo of senescence. GML