Butterfly-effect definition

bŭtər-flī
A phenomenon in which a small perturbation in the initial condition of a system results in large changes in later conditions. Such phenomena are common in complex dynamical systems and are studied in chaos theory.
noun
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A phenomenon in which a small perturbation in the initial condition of a system results in large changes in later conditions. Such phenomena are common in complex dynamical systems and are studied in chaos theory.
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The technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory.
noun
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
butterfly-effect
Plural:
butterfly-effects

Origin of butterfly-effect

  • From the idea that the tiny atmospheric changes caused by the flap of a butterfly's wings can ultimately have major effects on the course of the weather

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition