- the reappearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.
- an individual embodying such a reversion.
Words nearby atavism
Origin of atavism
OTHER WORDS FROM atavismat·a·vist, noun
Examples from the Web for atavist
This article is excerpted from American Hippopotamus, a recent single from The Atavist.Lake Bacon: The Story of The Man Who Wanted Us to Eat Mississippi Hippos|Jon Mooallem|August 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In a few generations the atavist and the genius have bred back to the average level.
But, if the prisoner is an atavist it is his nature to be furious and cruel.
For it is not a fault, but a misfortune, to be born an atavist.
Environment cannot make a model citizen of the "born criminal," or atavist.
It puts to death with the same ruthless equality the prophet and the atavist.The Joyful Heart|Robert Haven Schauffler