A Word A Day : Atavism

Monday, 26th November 2007 : Today's Word is ...


( Noun )

Pronunciation : átta-vìzzem

1. The reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence, usually caused by the chance recombination of genes

2. An individual or a part that exhibits atavism

3. The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence

4. An organism showing atavism


Mid-19th century - French atavisme - Latin atavus - beyond a grandfather - avus - grandfather

Contextual Example:

• In our day we have progressed to a point where such sentiments mark weakness and atavism.

• Perhaps some deeprooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history.

Related Words :

1. atavist: Noun

2. atavistic: Adjective

3. atavistically: Adverb

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