atavism


atavism

atavism [at-uh-viz-uh m] ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. Biology.
    1. the reappearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.
    2. an individual embodying such a reversion.
  2. reversion to an earlier type; throwback.

Origin of atavism 1825–35; Latin atav(us) remote ancestor (at-, akin to atta familiar name for a grandfather + avus grandfather, forefather) + -ism Related formsat·a·vist, noun Examples from the Web for atavist Contemporary Examples of atavist

  • This article is excerpted from American Hippopotamus, a recent single from The Atavist.

    Lake Bacon: The Story of The Man Who Wanted Us to Eat Mississippi Hippos

    Jon Mooallem

    August 10, 2014

  • Historical Examples of atavist

  • Environment cannot make a model citizen of the “born criminal,” or atavist.

    Not Guilty

    Robert Blatchford

  • For it is not a fault, but a misfortune, to be born an atavist.

    Not Guilty

    Robert Blatchford

  • But, if the prisoner is an atavist it is his nature to be furious and cruel.

    Not Guilty

    Robert Blatchford

  • If the atavist is “wicked,” the shark, and the wolf, and the adder are “wicked.”

    Not Guilty

    Robert Blatchford

  • Say the prisoner is an atavist; a man bred back to the beasts.

    Not Guilty

    Robert Blatchford

  • British Dictionary definitions for atavist atavism noun

    1. the recurrence in a plant or animal of certain primitive characteristics that were present in an ancestor but have not occurred in intermediate generations
    2. reversion to a former or more primitive type

    Derived Formsatavist, nounatavic (əˈtævɪk), adjectiveWord Origin for atavism C19: from French atavisme, from Latin atavus strictly: great-grandfather’s grandfather, probably from atta daddy + avus grandfather Word Origin and History for atavist atavism n.

    1833, from French atavisme, attested by 1820s, from Latin atavus “ancestor, forefather,” from at- perhaps here meaning “beyond” + avus “grandfather,” from PIE *awo- “adult male relative other than the father” (see uncle).

    atavist in Medicine atavism [ăt′ə-vĭz′əm] n.

    1. The appearance of characteristics that are presumed to have been present in some remote ancestor; reversion to an earlier biological type.

    Related formsat′a•vist n.at′a•vis′tic adj.

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