[ sal-tey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for saltation on
  1. a dancing, hopping, or leaping movement.

  2. an abrupt movement or transition.

  1. Geology. intermittent, leaping movement of particles of sand or gravel, as from the force of wind or running water.

  2. Biology.

    • a sudden discontinuity in a line of descent.

    • a mutation.

Origin of saltation

1640–50; <Latin saltātiōn- (stem of saltātiō) a dancing, equivalent to saltāt(us) (past participle of saltāre;see saltant) + -iōn--ion

Other words from saltation

  • sal·ta·tion·al, adjective

Words Nearby saltation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use saltation in a sentence

  • As an adaptation to saltation the tibia would elongate at the expense of the femur and the index would be more than 100.

  • Long tail and long hind foot would seem to be specializations for saltation and the two would be expected to be correlated.

  • Life must be taken with a grain of saltation: let the spirit dance a measure or two ere it collapse.

    Pipefuls | Christopher Morley
  • saltation is downwind movement of particles in a series of jumps or skips.

    Deserts | A. S. Walker
  • Particles are transported by winds through suspension, saltation, and creep.

    Deserts | A. S. Walker

British Dictionary definitions for saltation


/ (sælˈteɪʃən) /

  1. biology an abrupt variation in the appearance of an organism, species, etc, usually caused by genetic mutation

  2. geology the leaping movement of sand or soil particles carried in water or by the wind

  1. a sudden abrupt movement or transition

Origin of saltation

C17: from Latin saltātiō a dance, from saltāre to leap about

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 saltation


[ săl-tāshən, sôl- ]

  1. A single mutation that drastically alters the phenotype.

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