The Word-Hoard: Recrudescence




Breaking out afresh or into renewed activity; revival or appearance in active existence.

Wowee – million-dollar word here! Despite “breaking out afresh” conjuring images for me of decayed zombie hands thrusting forth from the earth, a Google image search of “recrudescence” turns up rather a lot of scientific-looking charts and diagrams. So while the word could possible be used to describe revival or reanimation in a literal, corporal, (and unholy) sense, I think it would more commonly be applied, to say…the zombie virus, which perhaps almost died out but then exploded once more, plunging the world into black chaos.


As you might be able to guess, this one’s got a Latin origin –¬†recrudescere, “to re-open” (as in a wound). According to, the “revival” meaning was adopted in 1906.

IN THIS our well-advertised, modern world, crammed with engines, death-dealing shells, life-dealing serums, and science, he who listens to “old wives’ tales” is counted idle. He who believes them, a superstitious fool. Yet there are some legends which have a strange, deathless habit of recrudescence in many languages and lands.

– Francis Stevens, “Elf Trap” (1919)

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