• synonyms


[dee-too-mes-uh ns, -tyoo-]
  1. reduction or subsidence of swelling.
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Origin of detumescence

1670–80; < Latin dētumēsc(ere) to cease swelling (dē- de- + tumēscere to swell) + -ence; see tumescent
Related formsde·tu·mes·cent, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for detumescence

Historical Examples

  • I have previously alluded to 88masturbation as a manifestation of the detumescence impulse.

    The Sexual Life of the Child

    Albert Moll

  • In man the process of tumescence and detumescence is simple.

  • Hence the significance of the kiss as a preliminary of detumescence.

  • The older the child becomes, the more are the phenomena of the contrectation70 impulse complicated by those of detumescence.

  • But in these cases also, the complete fusion of the processes of detumescence and contrectation occurs very gradually.

British Dictionary definitions for detumescence


  1. the subsidence of a swelling, esp the return of a swollen organ, such as the penis, to the flaccid state
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin dētumescere to cease swelling, from de- + tumescere, from tumēre to swell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

detumescence in Medicine


  1. Reduction, subsidence, or lessening of a swelling, especially the restoration of a swollen organ or part to normal size.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.