- 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.
- 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
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- 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