- the reappearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.
- an individual embodying such a reversion.
Origin of atavism
Examples from the Web for atavism
Can I explain, can anyone explain, the mysterious vagaries of atavism?Uncanny Tales|Various
The facts were wrong, and the theory of atavism perfectly unreasonable as applied to such a case.My Autobiography|F. Max Mller
Through some strange freak of atavism the father of the boy bred back, and was more or less of a Stone-Age cave-dweller.Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 11 (of 14)|Elbert Hubbard
Is there no sympathy with this unhappy victim of atavism, or of society?Not Guilty|Robert Blatchford
Altogether a good deal of nonsense has been written about atavism.Woman|William J. Robinson
British Dictionary definitions for atavism
Word Origin for atavism
Word Origin and History for atavism
1833, from French atavisme, attested by 1820s, from Latin atavus "ancestor, forefather," from at- perhaps here meaning "beyond" + avus "grandfather," from PIE *awo- "adult male relative other than the father" (see uncle).