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[fit-nis] /ˈfɪt nɪs/
capability of the body of distributing inhaled oxygen to muscle tissue during increased physical effort.
Also called Darwinian fitness. Biology.
  1. the genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation's gene pool relative to the average for the population, usually measured by the number of offspring or close kin that survive to reproductive age.
  2. the ability of a population to maintain or increase its numbers in succeeding generations.
Origin of fitness
First recorded in 1570-80; fit1 + -ness Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fitness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It did not occur to him to question his fitness for the work.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The young girl no longer listened to these reasons of the fitness of things.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Only this very morning I read her a sermon upon 'Propriety, and the fitness of things.'

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • The place had an Homeric simplicity and beauty which touched his sense of fitness.

    A Singer from the Sea Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • Candidates must only be proposed for their fitness, and opposed on the ground of unfitness.

    Laws Plato
British Dictionary definitions for fitness


the state of being fit
  1. the degree of adaptation of an organism to its environment, determined by its genetic constitution
  2. the ability of an organism to produce viable offspring capable of surviving to the next generation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fitness

1570s, from fit (adj.) + -ness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fitness in Medicine

fitness fit·ness (fĭt'nĭs)

  1. The state or condition of being physically sound and healthy, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.

  2. A state of general mental and physical well-being.

  3. The state of being suitably adapted to an environment.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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