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[awr-thuh-jen-uh-sis] /ˌɔr θəˈdʒɛn ə sɪs/
  1. Also called orthoselection. evolution of a species proceeding by continuous structural changes in a single lineage without presenting a branching pattern of descent.
  2. a theory that the evolution of a species in a continuous, nonbranching manner is due to a predetermined series of alterations intrinsic to the species and not subject to natural selection.
Sociology. a hypothetical parallelism between the stages through which every culture necessarily passes, in spite of secondary conditioning factors.
Origin of orthogenesis
1890-95; < New Latin; see ortho-, genesis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for orthogenesis
Historical Examples
  • This theory of orthogenesis has not figured very strongly in the history of the movement, but it recurs at intervals.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • Eimer, of Germany, has based on facts like these his theory of orthogenesis.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • The same can be said of any one of the teological theories, including the orthogenesis of post-Darwinian writers.

    American Weasels E. Raymond Hall
  • What is the third objection to Darwinism, and what is the bearing upon it of the theory of orthogenesis?

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
British Dictionary definitions for orthogenesis


  1. evolution of a group of organisms predetermined to occur in a particular direction
  2. the theory that proposes such a development
the theory that there is a series of stages through which all cultures pass in the same order
Derived Forms
orthogenetic (ˌɔːθəʊdʒɪˈnɛtɪk) adjective
orthogenetically, adverb
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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