Bau·​plan ˈbau̇-ˌplän How to pronounce Bauplan (audio)
variants or bauplan
plural Bauplans or Baupläne ˈbau̇-ˌplā-nə How to pronounce Bauplan (audio) or bauplans or baupläne
: the generalized structural body plan that characterizes a group of organisms and especially a major taxon (such as a phylum)
All feline species have inherited the unique Bauplan of cats, and cannot deviate from this commonality as they adapt, each in its own particular way.Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, 2002
The results of this study demonstrate that in chelonians, as in mammals and birds, features characteristic of an apparently discrete and highly integrated Bauplan were accumulated gradually and in a precise order.Michael S. Y. Lee, Science, 24 Sept. 1993
But nobody, and I mean nobody, thinks that evolution has ever been jumpy enough to invent a whole new bauplan in one step.Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden, 1995
The entire organism encompasses a definable bauplan, and the specific organ systems themselves also encompass describable bauplans; in both cases the structural and functional components of the particular plan establish both capabilities and limits.Richard C. Brusca and Gary J. Brusca, Invertebrates, 2nd edition, 2003
compare archetype sense 3a

Word History


borrowed from German, literally, "building plan," from Bau "building, structure" + Plan "plan," borrowed from French

First Known Use

1967, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Bauplan was in 1967

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Dictionary Entries Near Bauplan

Cite this Entry

“Bauplan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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