Atavist



Biology.

the reappearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.
an individual embodying such a reversion.

reversion to an earlier type; throwback.
Contemporary Examples

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 9, 2014

Historical Examples

In a few generations the atavist and the genius have bred back to the average level.
Not Guilty Robert Blatchford

If the atavist is “wicked,” the shark, and the wolf, and the adder are “wicked.”
Not Guilty Robert Blatchford

Environment cannot make a model citizen of the “born criminal,” or atavist.
Not Guilty Robert Blatchford

For it is not a fault, but a misfortune, to be born an atavist.
Not Guilty Robert Blatchford

But, if the prisoner is an atavist it is his nature to be furious and cruel.
Not Guilty Robert Blatchford

Say the prisoner is an atavist; a man bred back to the beasts.
Not Guilty Robert Blatchford

It puts to death with the same ruthless equality the prophet and the atavist.
The Joyful Heart Robert Haven Schauffler

noun
the recurrence in a plant or animal of certain primitive characteristics that were present in an ancestor but have not occurred in intermediate generations
reversion to a former or more primitive type
n.

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).

atavism at·a·vism (āt’ə-vĭz’əm)
n.
The appearance of characteristics that are presumed to have been present in some remote ancestor; reversion to an earlier biological type.
at’a·vist n.
at’a·vis’tic adj.
at’a·vis’ti·cal·ly adv.

Tagged:

Read Also:

  • Athabasca

    Lake, a lake in W Canada, in NW Saskatchewan and NE Alberta. About 200 miles (320 km) long; about 3000 sq. mi. (7800 sq. km). a river in SW Alberta, Canada, flowing NE to Lake Athabasca; oil-bearing tar sands. 765 miles (1231 km) long. Contemporary Examples Michael keeps his cool until he sees piles of […]

  • Athabaskan

    a family of languages spoken by American Indians in most of inland northwest Canada and Alaska, in coastal Oregon and California, and in Arizona and the Rio Grande basin, and including especially Navajo, Apache, and Chipewyan. Compare (def 14). a member of any of various American Indian peoples speaking Athabaskan. belonging to or characteristic of […]



  • Athabaska

    Lake, a lake in W Canada, in NW Saskatchewan and NE Alberta. About 200 miles (320 km) long; about 3000 sq. mi. (7800 sq. km). a river in SW Alberta, Canada, flowing NE to Lake Athabasca; oil-bearing tar sands. 765 miles (1231 km) long. Historical Examples Three years later moved to the athabaska department, and […]

  • Athaliah

    a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and usurper of the throne of Judah, reigned 842–837 b.c. II Kings 11:1–3. Historical Examples Athaliah, whose name 131 gives its title to the tragedy, was daughter to the wicked king, Ahab. French Classics William Cleaver Wilkinson In this way she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was […]



Disclaimer: Atavist definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.