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- (idiomatic) The period or state of cognitive decline of an elderly person, characterized by childlike judgment and behavior.
- 1549, Hugh Latimer, The seconde [seventh] sermon of Maister Hughe Latimer which he preached before the Kynges Maiestie in his graces palayce at Westminster, ye xv. day of Marche [-xix daye of Apryll], M.ccccc.xlix:
- King David being in his childhood, an old man, in his second childhood, for all old men are twice children, as the proverb is, Senex bis puer.
- (idiomatic) A childlike state in any adult, resulting from mental illness, trauma, or other conditions.
- Synonym: dementia
- 1838, [Edgar Allan Poe], chapter XI, in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. […], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], →OCLC, page 102:
- For myself, although at the commencement of the voyage I had been in bad health, and was at all times of a delicate constitution, I suffered less than any of us, being much less reduced in frame, and retaining my powers of mind in a surprising degree, while the rest were completely prostrated in intellect, and seemed to be brought to a species of second childhood, generally simpering in their expressions, with idiotic smiles, and uttering the most absurd platitudes.