eu·​gen·​ics | \ yü-ˈje-niks How to pronounce eugenics (audio) \

Definition of eugenics

: the practice or advocacy of controlled selective breeding of human populations (as by sterilization) to improve the population's genetic composition In 1883 Francis Galton, in England, coined the term "eugenics" to encompass the idea of modification of natural selection through selective breeding for the improvement of humankind …— Jeremiah A. Barondess A half-century ago, eugenics became associated with Hitler, genocide and master-race theories, and its reputation has never recovered.— Dan Seligman After the Second World War, "eugenics" became a word to be hedged with caveats in Britain and virtually a dirty word in the United States, where it had long been identified with racism.— Daniel J. Kevles The new advocates of biotechnology speak approvingly of what they term "free-market eugenics."— Dinesh D'Souza

Examples of eugenics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If anything, there was exploration of the negative side, like the eugenics movement. Angela Chen, The Verge, "A historian explains how people of the past imagined the future," 20 July 2018 The writer-director first garnered attention for his debut feature, Gattaca, a science fiction drama portraying a future where genetically preferable citizens enjoy superior standing in a eugenics-fueled caste system. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Netflix’s Anon is an augmented reality neo-noir nightmare," 4 May 2018 In the first half of the 20th century, approximately 60,000 people were sterilized under U.S. eugenics programs. Smithsonian, "California Once Targeted Latinas for Forced Sterilization," 23 Mar. 2018 Svalbard’s beguiling paradox of fame and mystery inevitably has spawned various wacky conspiracy theories, including the idea that the vault is a top-secret NATO facility housing a global eugenics project. Adrian Higgins, idahostatesman, "Dispelling myths around the Arctic Circle’s famed ‘doomsday’ seed vault on its 10th anniversary | Idaho Statesman," 28 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of eugenics

1883, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of eugenics was in 1883

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English Language Learners Definition of eugenics

: a science that tries to improve the human race by controlling which people become parents
eu·​gen·​ics | \ yu̇-ˈjen-iks How to pronounce eugenics (audio) \

Medical Definition of eugenics

: the practice or advocacy of controlled selective breeding of human populations (as by sterilization) to improve the population's genetic composition

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for eugenics Encyclopedia article about eugenics

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appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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