- The definition of an atavism is a genetic trait that reoccurs after skipping several generations.
If a person has blue eyes like her great great grandmother but her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have brown eyes, then having blue eyes is an example of an atavism.
atavism definition by Webster's New World
- appearance in an individual of some characteristic found in a remote ancestor but not in nearer ancestors
- such a characteristic
- an individual with such a characteristicalso atavist
Origin: French atavisme ; from Classical Latin atavus, father of a great-grandfather, ancestor ; from at-, beyond plush avus, grandfather ; from Indo-European an unverified form ati, beyond plush an unverified form awos, maternal grandfather
atavism definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence, usually caused by the chance recombination of genes.
- An individual or a part that exhibits atavism. Also called throwback.
- The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.
Origin: French atavisme, from Latin atavus, ancestor : atta, father + avus, grandfather; see awo- in Indo-European roots.
- atˈa·vist noun
- atˌa·visˈtic adjective
- atˌa·visˈti·cal·ly adverb
atavism - Medical Definition
- atavist noun
- atavistic adjective