butterfly effect

noun
|Updated on: 15 Jun 2018

Definition of butterfly effect

: a property of chaotic systems (such as the atmosphere) by which small changes in initial conditions can lead to large-scale and unpredictable variation in the future state of the system

Recent Examples of butterfly effect from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'butterfly effect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of butterfly effect

1979

in the meaning defined above

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