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[tuh-leg-uh-nee] /təˈlɛg ə ni/
a former belief that a sire can influence the characteristics of the progeny of the female parent and subsequent mates.
Origin of telegony
First recorded in 1890-95; tele-1 + -gony
Related forms
[tel-i-gon-ik] /ˌtɛl ɪˈgɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for telegony
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The phenomenon has recently been endowed with a new name—telegony.

  • The curious phenomenon of telegony is not limited, however, to plants.

    Homo-culture Martin Luther Holbrook
  • Pre-natal culture and telegony were found to be mere delusions.

    Applied Eugenics Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
  • It was as a matter of fact thought to be an example of that rather doubtfully-occurring phenomenon, "telegony."

  • Weismann does not absolutely deny the possibility of the existence of telegony, but he would like more evidence.

  • His experiments so far support the view of Continental mule breeders, that telegony, if it takes place, occurs very seldom.

  • telegony is still believed by many animal breeders, but it has no place in science.

    Applied Eugenics Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
  • The idea of telegony, the persistent influence of the first mating, may be invoked to explain this discrepancy.

    Applied Eugenics Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
  • Although his experiments have been devised so as to conduce in every way possible to telegony his results have been negative.

    Being Well-Born Michael F. Guyer
British Dictionary definitions for telegony


(genetics) the supposed influence of a previous sire on offspring borne by a female to other sires
Derived Forms
telegonic (ˌtɛlɪˈɡɒnɪk), telegonous, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from tele- + -gony. Compare Greek tēlegonos ``born far from one's homeland''
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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