[sal-tey-shuh n]
  1. a dancing, hopping, or leaping movement.
  2. an abrupt movement or transition.
  3. Geology. intermittent, leaping movement of particles of sand or gravel, as from the force of wind or running water.
  4. Biology.
    1. a sudden discontinuity in a line of descent.
    2. 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
Related formssal·ta·tion·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for saltational


  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
  3. a sudden abrupt movement or transition

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for saltational



"a leap, a bound," 1620s, from Latin saltationem (nominative saltatio) "a dancing; dance," noun of action from past participle stem of saltare "to hop, dance," frequentative of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

saltational in Medicine


[săl-tāshən, sôl-]
  1. The act of leaping, jumping, or dancing.
  2. Discontinuous movement, transition, or development; advancement by leaps as of a disease or physiologic function.
  3. A single mutation that drastically alters the phenotype.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

saltational in Science


[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.