• synonyms


[pav-loh-vee-uh n, -law-, -lov-ee-]
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  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Pavlov or his work, especially of experiments in which he elicited predictable responses from laboratory animals.
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Origin of Pavlovian

First recorded in 1925–30; Pavlov + -ian
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pavlovian


  1. of or relating to the work of Ivan Pavlov
  2. (of a reaction or response) automatic; involuntary
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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

Word Origin and History for pavlovian



1931, from the theories, experiments, and methods of Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936), especially in connection with the salivary reflexes of dogs in response to mental stimulus of the sound of a bell (attested from 1911, in Pavloff [sic] method).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper