[ dahr-win ]

  1. Charles (Robert), 1809–82, English naturalist and author.

  2. his grandfather, Erasmus, 1731–1802, English naturalist and poet.

  1. a seaport in and the capital of Northern Territory, in N Australia.

Other words from Darwin

  • anti-Darwin, adjective
  • pro-Darwin, adjective

Words Nearby Darwin

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Darwin in a sentence

  • Darwin's view that it may have been a result of sexual selection seems the most probable explanation.

    Man And His Ancestor | Charles Morris
  • As regards the pointed ear of man's probable ancestor, Darwin calls attention to what seems a trace in man of the lost tip.

    Man And His Ancestor | Charles Morris
  • It is unreasonable to accuse Mr. Darwin (as has been done) of violating the rules of Induction.

  • Mr. Darwin's remarkable speculation on the Origin of Species is another unimpeachable example of a legitimate hypothesis.

  • After a silence I asked him if he would tell me why he had chosen Darwin as a literary pastime.

    In Search of the Unknown | Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for Darwin (1 of 2)


/ (ˈdɑːwɪn) /

  1. a port in N Australia, capital of the Northern Territory: destroyed by a cyclone in 1974 but rebuilt on the same site. Pop: 71 347 (2001): Former name (1869–1911): Palmerston

British Dictionary definitions for Darwin (2 of 2)


/ (ˈdɑːwɪn) /

  1. Charles (Robert). 1809–82, English naturalist who formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection, expounded in On the Origin of Species (1859) and applied to man in The Descent of Man (1871)

  2. his grandfather, Erasmus. 1731–1802, English physician and poet; author of Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life (1794–96), anticipating Lamarck's views on evolution

  1. Sir George Howard, son of Charles Darwin. 1845–1912, English astronomer and mathematician noted for his work on tidal friction

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

Scientific definitions for Darwin


[ därwĭn ]

  1. British naturalist who proposed the theory of evolution based on natural selection (1858). Darwin's theory, that random variation of traits within an individual species can lead to the development of new species, revolutionized the study of biology.

biography For Darwin

The flora and fauna of the Galápagos Archipelago, a group of islands 650 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, provided the inspiration for Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, which outlined his theory of evolution. Although Darwin spent some time studying medicine and later prepared for the clergy, graduating in 1828 from Christ's College, Cambridge, he couldn't deny his interest in geology and natural history. He spent five years (1831-36) as a naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle on an exploration of South America and Australia. In September 1835 the Beagle reached the Galápagos Archipelago. “This archipelago,” Darwin wrote, “seems to be a little world within itself, the greater number of its inhabitants, both vegetable and animal, being found nowhere else.” Darwin observed 26 species of birds, only one of which was known to exist anywhere else, as well as giant tortoises and other unusual reptiles. Each species, he observed, was uniquely adapted to the particular island on which it lived. Upon his return to England, Darwin refined his notes and continued to make scientific observations, this time of his own garden and of the animals kept by his family. In 1859, after 23 years of sustained work, he published On the Origin of Species, in which he argued that traits such as size and color vary from species to species and that individual variations of these traits are passed down from parents to offspring. More progeny are produced than there is available sustenance. Variations that contribute more successfully to attracting a mate and reproducing are passed down to more offspring, eventually influencing the entire species. Through this process of natural selection, the highly complex species of today gradually evolved from earlier, simpler organisms.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.